Iliad reflection paper - O'Connor James\"The Iliad and Modern values Prizing Martial Glory over Paternal and Familial Responsibility\"The bee fertilizes

Iliad reflection paper - O'Connor James"The Iliad and...

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O’ConnorJames“The Iliad” and Modern values: Prizing Martial Glory over Paternal and Familial Responsibility“The bee fertilizes the flower it robs”-Charles A. BeardHomer was a writer of towering prescience. He foresaw what key elements of the human condition would persist long after his death. For this reason, his most famous epic has withstood the test of time for more than 2,000 years. Arguably, “The Iliad” shaped Western philosophy and culture as much as any other written document in history. Its message endures due to Homer’s masterful depiction of the dark side of our nature, including our deep-rooted tendency to sacrifice love for the glory of personal victory. This precept has a variety of manifestations in “The Iliad.” Primarily, it is seen in decisions by the warriors Hector, Achilles and Patroclus to estrange their families and attain individual glory in war, because they know martial glory will earn them immortality and a name worthy of remembrance. Homer indirectly satirizes the striving these men’s striving by using the gods as humanity’s puppeteers, capriciously dictating men’s existence while the human life below blindly regards their machinations as sacred. Once one mortal climbs to the top of their mountain in “The Iliad,” he often finds nothing is there. In this work by Homer, the insistence on the pursuit of martial glory towers above the importance of these men’s families, loving relationships and pursuit of personal fulfillment. Paradoxically, this pyrrhic, male-ascribed institution of winning glory at all costs through battle, circumscribes respect and praise for the warrior in life, because he must die to achieve it.Picture an able-bodied Trojan warrior teeming with might and virility, eager to prove his worth as a fighting member of his army. Watching all the other men in his community partake in battle without him would reflect poorly on his ambition, virility and seriousness of purpose. The unity these
armies seem to reflect to outsiders is a mirage. In actuality the armies comprise a group of individuals with dissenting desires and personal goals. We see this trait personified in Achilles when he and Agamemnon quarrel over their stolen female prizes. Despite being members of the same army, their conflicting egos result in Achilles’ refusal to do battle.More importantly, the Greeks’ battlefield served as a venue for the potential apotheosis of mere mortals. On the battlefield, any man could accomplish feats of divine proportion, making the attainment of martial glory more accessible. This in turn made men more likely to desire battle. Power was not exclusively the result of inheritance in the Greek social structure. It could be won through acts of valor and courage, independent of a man’s social standing or family history. In this respect, our

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