The World Set Up By Homer

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The world set up by Homer is not easy; the war certainly has no purpose, certainly not for the greater good, but merely part of the blind workings of an unfathomable fate. When warriors die, there does not exist Valkyries singing them to their rest, merely the bleak prospect of an ashen, ghostly, absence of meaning. The Iliad, therefore, presents a collective cavalcade of loss, the endless parade of men, equal in all forms, summoned briefly to the wonders of life only to be consigned to death by the horrors of fate. “Nothing precious is scorned, whether or not death is its destiny; everyone’s happiness is laid bare without dissimulation or disdain; no man is set above or below the condition common to all men; whatever is destroyed is regretted” (Weil).
(introduction sentence) The paradoxical tension at the heart of Homer’s ill-fated vision of war becomes apparent within the first clash of rival armies in Book IV. The preparations for combat by both sides draw attention towards the passionate individuality of the warriors, who by the very nature of the heroic complex, are defined by their participation, or rather success, in battle. As Agamemnon visits the front lines, he calls forth a series of great Achaean heroes: Idomeneus, Nestor, Odysseus, Diomedes, Stehnelus, and Ajax, each of whom is portrayed as the brave, proud, loyal archetypical Homeric hero caught up within this test of excellence. En masse, the Achaean army is seen gathering under the irresistible and alluring

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