Homer 's Iliad And Thucydides 's History Of The Peloponnesian War

1375 WordsSep 22, 20176 Pages
Homer’s Iliad and Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War ask if death and philotēs can exist simultaneously. In the respective texts, that which Achilles and the Athenians encounter prove they will not exist in harmony for “human nature” is “incapable of controlling passion” and “the enemy of anything superior” (HPW 3.84). When Achilles does not receive his earned honor after battle and death’s toll from the war blurs the Athenians’ identity, their grief causes apathy. Achilles withdraws from his own people with a “rage, black and murderous” causing his own army to buckle which parallels the Athenians who at Pylos become “obsessed with the idea...to attack Spartans” (HPW 4.34). Before these cruel lapses in judgment, both desire…show more content…
Ultimately, all Achilles has left is death, and all surrounding Athens is death. In death’s atrocity, Achilles and the Athenians turn towards their self-interests in hopes to regain control and dignity. Achilles withdraws from the army in hopes they will recognize his worth, thus restoring honor to him. The Greeks “were stricken with unendurable grief” yet his “proud spirit” kept him from letting go of his anger. (Il. 9.4, 259). His inability to understand his mortality and resulting lack of philotēs “pitched countless souls of heroes into Hades’ dark” (Il. 1.3-4). Falling into fits of self-pity, Achilles is unable to recognize others’ sufferings, even of his own people. He complains to his mother that Agamemnon “has taken away [his] prize and dishonored” him and playing a lyre by the shore, away from the war displaying death’s reality (Il. 1.370). In his isolating mēnis, Achilles hardens into an apathetic death-like figure. Similarly, the Athenians begin to lack pity as their city turned towards “unprecedented lawlessness,… acts of self-indulgence,” and immorality during the plague (HPW 2.53). The Athenians even abandon their own people in fear of falling ill as well. Their civilization reveals it shallow-nature as they result to only considering present desires as honorable. In the face

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