The Iliad and Greek Heroes

1500 WordsMay 12, 20056 Pages
The Iliad is an epic tale of war and hero's within the Greek way of life. A predominant and consistent theme of honor and glory reside throughout the poem. The motivation for any Homeric Greek is glory, or "Kleos", that is to be honored and respected among their people. Emphasis is put on living by the heroic code. Honor is essential to the Greeks and life would not be worth living without it. When a warrior or hero is advised to avoid risking their life in battle it almost drives them even further towards the deed. It is better to be killed in action rather than to live and be thought a coward. By our rational standards one would certainly not be thought a coward if they didn't rush into battle to almost…show more content…
In contrast, the Greeks always remember their hero's and would respect and honor that warrior for the rest of their lives. A Homeric hero wins glory by performing great deeds, the memory of which will outlive him For instance, an athlete in ancient times would be taken care of and all his basic needs met if he were to win a medal in competition. Hunting was another way for someone to achieve Kleos, however no methods were greater and looked upon with more respect than defeating your enemies in battle. Achilleus felt some shame in letting his good friend Patroclus die in battle while wearing his armor. He refused to eat or drink and deprived his body of any satisfaction until he got a chance to avenge his loyal friend's death. He finally did so by risking his own life and taking on Hektor in the great individual battle. Hektor had the chance not to risk orphaning his son, but Hector knew that fighting among the front ranks represents the only means of winning his father great glory, he says. Paris, on the other hand, chooses to spend time with Helen rather than fight in the war; accordingly, Homer and the other characters treat him with less respect and honor. The characters prize so highly the inherited values of honor, noble bravery, and glory that they willingly sacrifice the chance to live a long
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