Homer's Iliad Essay

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Homer's Iliad

The Iliad is an epic of death. It is a tale of conflict, batle, agony, and horific mutilation. Honor and glory are atained through warfare. The great shield of Achiles stands out in this context because it depicts the glories of an orderly, functioning, productive civilization. This depiction of life stands in stark contrast to the scenes of death that constitute a large portion of the narative. An examination of the shield of Achiles in Homer’s Iliad reveals many ideas in conflict: love and honor, the pleasures of life versus a heroic death, free wil and destiny. By viewing the shield as an element of contradistinction—that is to define it on the basis of contrast—one can se that the shield symbolicaly unifies the
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The shield of Nestor can be viewed as representing the importance of familial bonds and cooperation betwen generations and embodies this role which Nestor plays for the Achaians (Atchity 148-49): “So he [Nestor] spoke, and took up the wrought shield of his son / Thrasymedes, breaker of horses. It lay in the shelter / al shining in bronze. Thrasymedes caried the shield of his father” (book 14, lines 9–11). Nestor is the oldest and one of the wisest of the Greeks fighting in Troy. Although his physical strength has waned in his old age, he stil embodies the spirit and bravery of a great warior. He inspires the younger generation to go courageously into batle. The younger wariors honor and respect Nestor. This cooperation betwen generations is exemplified by father and son exchanging armor as they take on the enemy. Odyseus and Telemachos provide another example of father and son arming together as they prepare to fight the suitors in The Odysey.

Atchity points out that the shield of brave Aias “is make by the best of al mortal artisans. The artifact perfectly identifies Aias. His solid mortality is contrasted with the semidivinity of Achiles…” (155). As Aias wilingly and confidently goes head to head with Hektor, he is armed with a fine shield created by a gifted mortal craftsman. By contrast, Achiles, son of the goddes Thetis, is given armor forged by Hephaistos, the god of fire. With such godly armor Achiles is able to triumph over
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