War, With Its Horror And Glory

1242 Words Sep 18th, 2016 5 Pages
War, with its horror and glory, is something that should not be underestimated in its ability to teach truths about the human condition. War shows the bitter truth of the inevitability of death and exposes one’s family and nation to danger and destruction. However, the ability of war to unify a nation and enlighten the minds of soldiers is significant and is what should be remembered most because in that, one is able to transcend them self and evolve to be a better person. In Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, the Athenians come to realize the role their unchecked selfishness and greed have played in their ruination because they finally acknowledge the consequences of their actions. And as death is a soldier’s constant companion, the Athenians eventually accept their fate – moira – and learn to put fear aside and endure. Interestingly, Homer conveys a similar view on fate and death in the Iliad, and emphasizes the importance of fighting for those one loves (and the enduring kleos to be gained from heroism in battle). The lessons of war, however, manifest themselves differently in the Iliad in the way that war reveals the “true meaning and purpose of life” – what is worth fighting for and what is not (Mannering). It becomes apparent in History of the Peloponnesian War that self-interest and greed are the main instigators at work as Thucydides repeatedly communicates through the characters’ speeches. In fact, Thucydides begins book one with pointing out the…

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