Essay on The Iliad of Homer and Greek Heroes

1495 Words6 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 certain death,…show more content…
It would be brought back to the homeland and displayed as a sign of power; this is how Kleos was attained, and how respect was earned. To the victor went more than the battle armor. They would regularly take their pick of the local women to take back with them and “lay in bed together”. This became one of the centerpieces for the conflict between Achilleus and Agamemnon, when a quarrel arose and Achilleus was asked to allow Briseis, a prize that he won in battle, to go back to her land. It is common to keep your female prizes as your own; however, Achilleus felt that his ego was tested when he was asked to return her. This went hand in hand with the honor factor, it would be shameful for him to oblige and give back what he rightfully won. After all, she was a symbol of Kleos, by giving her back he was losing something which he strived so hard to attain. The Greek warrior was very selfish, there was no sense of community on their foremost mind, and it was about the self and their status among others. The warrior who was most feared was the warrior that got the most respect and admirations from the generations that would follow. The poem is after all about Achilleus, a great warrior that fought hard and attained much glory in doing so. The shame that one would feel from avoiding battle is evident in many cases throughout the poem. When Hektor is
Get Access