The Timeless Truths of Homer's Iliad

1784 Words Nov 24th, 2010 8 Pages
James Hutchinson

Ms. Spicer

AP Literature

20 August 2010

Homer's Timeless Truths

Is Homer's The Iliad relevant to today's society? Is this work a timeless parable depicting universal human truths transcending time and context or merely a superbly-crafted epic poem to be studied and admired for its stylistic brilliance? Has the text endured simply because of Homer's dramatic verse or because of the timeless human truths it conveys? Was it written to persuade readers to question the moral implications and savagery of war or simply to provide provocative entertainment? These questions have been posed for centuries yet rarely have been sufficiently answered. However, an astute student of contemporary politics, media, and entertainment
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The arrogant, manipulative gods pulling strings from their plush thrones on Mount Olympus bring to mind modern-day politicians. They can be seen as archetypes of today's detached bureaucrats. Zeus and his fellow gods dispassionately toy with mortals, watching with amusement as they cut one another down on the blood-soaked battlefield of windy Troy. Shamelessly, like merciless puppeteers, they create tension between the mortals for their own personal entertainment, with little regard for the inevitable mayhem and carnage that ensues. Indeed, the ten-year conflict at Troy is indirectly sparked by the vain goddess Aphrodite's desire to be recognized as the “fairest” beauty among the goddesses, yet as soon as the fighting begins, she pleads neutrality. Similarly, Zeus himself shows little concern for the rampant slaughter among mortals taking place on his watch, even though initially he aids Achilles in his revenge against the Greeks. More than a few critics of the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have decried the dispassionate way in which U.S. “chickenhawk” non-combatants such as George Bush, Dick Cheney, and now Barack Obama have heartlessly made “strategic military decisions” from the safe environs of the White House that have had mortal consequences for U.S. troops on the front lines in Kabul and Baghdad. For many observers, the U.S. political elite bears more than slight resemblance to the gods of

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