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Deus and Kleos: The Paradox of Glory in Homer's The Iliad Essay

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The Iliad is the story of hundreds of Ancient Greek heroes and kings seeking to take the fabled city of Troy. They embody the values that the Ancient Greeks valued. The charismatic Odysseus, the mighty Achilles, the wise Nestor, the royal Agamemnon all take part in the Iliad. The heroes pursue personal glory on the battlefield. Glory to them, is more valuable than their families, their lives, and form the very basis for their existence. The invincible Achilles, mightiest of the Achaeans, chooses to withdraw from the fight due to a loss of glory. Glory, the intangible, almost untouchable thing that even the mightiest of heroes sought. The idea of glory is the temptation of man, it leads them in an endless cycle of conflict and struggle,…show more content…
When Achilles withdraws from the battlefield he pleads with his immortal mother, Thetis, to plead with Zeus to “grant the Trojans victory after victory till the Achaean armies pay my dear son back.” (Book I, line 607-608). Achilles forsakes the bonds of camaraderie due to the loss of glory and honor inflicted upon him by Agamemnon. Yet he lets his faithful companion, Patroclus, march in his armor. Achilles while pursuing glory and honor, lets a lesser man wield his armor, which often is used to symbolize glory. Soldiers often took the armor of the enemies they have killed as trophies. Achilles, while steadfast in his pursuit of honor and glory, willingly gives glory to his comrades. While Achilles is willing to let his comrades fall in battle because of an insult to his glory. He is also willing to part with his armor, a physical manifestation of his glory, to his dearest companion Patroclus. While Achilles is steadfast in his pursuit of glory, the bonds of camaraderie still bind him. Glory, Achilles’ greatest desire, still takes the second spot to his friend Patroclus. Patroclus is slain, and Hector, mightiest of the Trojans, seizes Achilles’ armor, a symbol of his glory. By honoring his comrade, Achilles provides himself with a reason to return to battle, where he earns more glory than before. While Achilles does lose glory from the loss of his gleaming armor, he regains it by slaying Hector
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