iliad - Heather Fackelman Honors Seminar Great Books Ideas...

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Heather Fackelman October 10, 2007 Rage and Force: ‘The loveliest of mirrors” Throughout Homer’s The Iliad , there is a recurring theme of rage and force, shown best by the men fighting the Trojan War, a war between the Trojans and the Achaeans over Helen of Troy. Rage presented itself amongst the gods, between the gods and the mortals, and also amongst mortals. Rage and force are still existent today, clearly seen in the war in the Middle East, and these themes can and will present themselves in any time period, because they are typical of human nature. Though the causes of force and rage may differ throughout time, the basic forms of those emotions exist in any time, and therefore make The Iliad one of many “[pure] and [lovely] mirrors” (Weil, “Poem of Force”). Force and rage are the first themes introduced in the poem; the theme is established from the very first word: “rage” (Homer 107.) The reader is first introduced to Agamemnon and Achilles, as they are having a bitter dispute over the two women, Chryseis and Briseis. Achilles becomes “consumed with grief” at the thought of having to surrender his beautiful Briseis to Agamemnon, and prays to his mother, Thetis, a goddess of the sea. At this point, the reader can already see the source of Achilles’ rage growing within him, and it only grows more throughout the novel. This can be paralleled today with the war in the Middle East. Tensions were slowly rising throughout the 80s and 90s as the United States and the Middle East 1
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encountered conflict after conflict. Though at first passive and non-violent methods were sought to resolve these conflicts, eventually no other alternative was left but force. This rage and force, however, escalate and become uncontrollable to the point of mass destruction, a point whereat dignity and pride no longer exist. Though this is not the
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iliad - Heather Fackelman Honors Seminar Great Books Ideas...

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