Heroes And Heroes In Homer's The Iliad

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Book Four of The Iliad ends after Athena coaxed a Trojan archer to fire at the Achaeans. The transgression prompts a fervent battle following what could have been a truce between the two sides. Succeeding the outbreak of war, Athena bestows to her chosen hero, Diomedes, the “strength and courage that would make him shine among the Greeks and win him glory” (pg. 83). Diomedes goes forth to slaughter the Trojans in battle, instilling distress in their hearts. With this depiction of Diomedes, Homer introduces two of his core claims in this selection: one individual can turn the tides of battle and man is merciless in war. Champions and heroes play an integral role in this selection of The Iliad. Diomedes begins by almost single handedly pushing back the Trojans; however, soon after Diomedes rips through them, Hector crushes the ranks of the Achaeans. Even the minor characters of the epic are shown to greatly influence the battle as a whole. Homer describes the battle as small, segmented fights between characters, allowing each character to sway the battle in his side’s favor. Heroes on both sides periodically shift the tides of war. No one side completely controls the battlefield for long within these four Books. Although the selection concludes with Hector cornering the Achaeans, it seems as though the tides can shift in an instant. Individuals, not armies, command the battlefield. Throughout this selection, Homer illustrates just how brutal war, and consequently man, can
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