Justice and Love in the Iliad

959 WordsJun 16, 20184 Pages
Simone Weil argues that the way Homer presents war and the use of force in the Iliad, in all of its brutality, violence, and bitterness bathes the work in the light of love and justice (pg 25). The point Weil is making is that by depicting the suffering of all of these men regardless of their side, or strength Homer equalizes them in a “condition common to all men”(pg 25). Because Homer equalizes them the reader can feel empathy, or at least compassion for all of the men. However while Weil is correct about how Homer’s descriptions of war and force reveal justice and love, she is wrong in thinking that justice and love are mere “accents” to the Iliad, and progress through the story “without ever becoming noticeable”(pg 25). Homer not…show more content…
At first this may seem to be a different thing then what Weil argues about. Weil’s discussion of love and justice has to do with how the reader feels towards the individuals in the Iliad, and the empathy that Homer evokes through revealing their shared suffering. However Achilles love for Patroclus has the same effect on him as Weil argues Homer has on the reader. Achilles becomes as empathetic to the plight of the people in this war as the reader does. This becomes apparent in Achilles’ interaction with Priam. Achilles is able to feel sad for, and with Priam. Achilles understands Priam’s plight and suffering in the same way as the reader understands the plight of the soldiers in this war and can feel for them regardless of their position. Achilles understanding extends all the way to the battlefield. When Achilles is confronted by Lycaon his speech reveals his understanding, “Come, friend, you too must die...even Patroclus died, a far far better man than you. And look, you see how handsome and powerful I am? The son of a great man, the mother who gave me life a deathless goddess, but even for me, I tell you, death and the strong force of fate are waiting”(b 21 pg 522 line 120). In this speech Achilles says as plainly as possible that death equalizes all men. Achilles character ark is defined by slowly coming to realize this idea. He begins the story as a petty man obsessed with the idea that he deserved more than
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