The Iliad by Homer

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Many years ago in ancient Greece, Plato initiated a debate about the usefulness of literature by declaring that poetry had no place in the ideal society, mainly because it was full of lies and because it evoked undesirable emotions. His pupil Aristotle, however, took the opposing side of this dispute and argued that literature was, in fact, useful. Aristotle agreed with Plato that literature induces undesirable emotions, but he stated that it only does so in an attempt to purge us of these harmful sentiments, a process which he termed “catharsis”. The events in Homer’s Iliad, while used by both Plato and Aristotle to defend their theories about literature, lend themselves to the defense of Aristotle’s ideas more so than Plato’s.…show more content…
But it is not so much the pain to come of the Trojans that troubles me […] as troubles me the thought of you” (Iliad book 6 lines 447-454). Obviously, Hektor shows himself in book six to be a man firmly in touch with the unalterable human condition of mortality. He understands that Ilion is fated to fall, and that he himself will be murdered by the Greeks leaving his wife a widow and his young child, Astyanax, fatherless.
As the Trojan army becomes more and more successful in battle, however, Hektor seems to lose this insight about his own mortality and about the ultimate end of the Trojan War. After Hektor sees Diomedes the great Greek warrior retreat from the battle front, he taunts the son of Tydeus, saying, “Oh, if I only could be as this in all my days immortal and ageless and be held in honor as Athene and Apollo are honored as surely as this oncoming day brings evil to the Argives” (Iliad book 8 lines 538-541). With these four lines, Homer depicts a man who has lost sight of his human limitations. By showing his desire for immortality, Hektor is essentially showing how close he is to death. His insatiable desire for Kleos, timé, and victory force him to completely forget all of the predictions he made about the fall of Ilion only two books earlier. In book

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