Deconstruction of The Iliad The main thesis of the paper is that Iliad is famous epic poem glorifying war, military fame and impermanency of human life. The Iliad is known to be one of the two famous ancient Greek poems written by a blind poet Homer. But there was a doubt about the fact whether Homer existed and whether he was a single author of the poem. But it is apparent that The Iliad is belongs to a tradition of Greek oral poetry. The influence of the poem on the Roman, Greek and even European culture was considered to be really great and enormous. (Fitzgerald 1991) It is necessary to say that epic is considered to be the oldest literature in the Greek language. But some scholars believe that some works were written even earlier (e.g. works of Hesiod).
The Iliad is dated to the 8th century BC. But now some scholars such as Martin West and Richard Seaford prefer to date it in the 6th-7th century BC. It is seen that there is no single opinion. The Iliad tells about events taking place during the last year of Lion siege (about 10th century BC) or Trojan War. It is necessary to notice that the word Iliad means pertaining to Lion which is the mane of the city centered about Ilium. The important fact is that names in the poems are sometimes used interchangeably.
(Griffin 1980) Genre. It is known that all literary works are divided into different categories or genres according to their content and form. Therefore The Iliad belongs to epic genre. It is a long poem telling readers about historical events involving ancient gods, heroic deeds and ancient heroes. Since the Iliad is too lengthy, it is loosely organized. What is more interesting is that not every event or episode of the poem is absolutely connected with the main story line.
The Iliad is an epic tale of war and hero's within the Greek way of life. A predominant and consistent theme of honor and glory reside throughout the poem. The motivation for any Homeric Greek is glory, or "Kleos", that is to be honored and respected among their people. Emphasis is put on living by the heroic code. Honor is essential to the Greeks and life would not be worth living without it. ...
It means that digressions are rather common in the poem. It is possible to notice the difference between epic genre and dramatic genre where all episodes tend to be closely connected with the plot and all digressions are uncommon. It is a distinguishing feature of The Iliad. All events narrated in The Iliad are created by the legends, not invented by the poet. The events are of great significance in the poem. The narration in The Iliad is presented rather impersonally, without drawing attention to the author except accidentally (when Homer addresses the Muse of poetry in the first line).
(Lattimore 1951) Themes. The themes in the poem are fundamental and universal ideas. The first theme is the glory of war. There is an idea that The Iliad celebrates war, because all the characters are judged by their competence, bravery and courage in the battles. For example, Paris preferred not to fight and therefore he was scorned by his family and beloved woman. On the other hand, Achilles won eternal glory, because he always rejected long, uneventful, calm and comfortable home life. (Fitzgerald 1991) It seems that the poem supports the war, because such judging extends even to the gods.
The Iliad involve warlike gods such as Athena. She is admired by the readers when she tries to make fun of other gods running from aggression (Artemis and Aphrodite).
Iliad proclaims that to fight means to prove honor and bravery. It means that to avoid war means to show laziness and ignoble fear. But Iliad doesnt prefer to ignore the cruel realities of the war: soldiers die; women become concubines or slaves, thrown away from their families; a plague breaks out in the camp. In such situation even the poet says that even the bravest soldiers regret that the war has broken, because it has brought fear and horrors.
It is seen that the poet didnt imply that war is a waste of human lives and time. Homer portrays each side as having a justifiable reason to fight and depicts warfare as a respectable and even glorious manner of settling the dispute. (Lattimore 1951) The next theme of the Iliad is military glory vs. family life. This theme has some relation to the glory of war theme. This theme proclaims that war is predominant over the family life and has to be always on the first place for all men. The poem admires the bonds of obligation that connects families together, but the respect for the glory is significantly higher. It is seen in the poem that the poet always forced heroes to make choice between their beloved persons and desire for glory.
Wars pre-1914 were very different to WW1. Wars such as the Boer War and the Crimean War were fought by soldiers using mainly sabres and muskets. These wars had little in the way of powerful weaponry such as heavy weight machine guns. WW1 also saw the beginning of trench warfare, tanks, planes and gases. Almost all of the poetry written during WW1 was written while the soldiers were on the front ...
In the result the choice is inevitable and heroes choose actually quest for kleos. For example Hector was pleaded not to risk orphaning his son, but he though that fighting was the only way to win great glory. (Fitzgerald 1991) But Paris preferred to spend time with beautiful Helen instead of fighting in the war. Therefore he is treated with derision. Achilles was hesitating among living in ease with aging father or to win glory and avenge Patroclus. As the result he remained at Troy. Significance of the decisions made by Achilles and Hector are emphasized by the fact that ach knows his fate ahead of time. Both of them appreciate highly the value of honor, glory and bravery therefore they preferred to sacrifice the only chance to live a long life with their families. One more theme is the impermanence of human life.
It is a matter of fact that Iliad is only a brief period in a long war; it provides the specific ends of each person involved in the plot. The destiny of Troy is to fall as Hector told his wife (Book 6).
The Priam and all his children are destined to die and Hector is killed even before the ending of the poem. Achilles dies as well, because the author alludes to this event proclaiming that even the bravest and noblest men are subjected to death sooner or later. The Iliad recognizes and repeats that the creations of mortals have a mortality of their own. (Griffin 1980) It is seen that human lives are impermanent and that glory doesnt live in cities and constructions.
There can be a numerous amount of reasons that an author decides to write a particular work. However, the common goal of all authors is to catch the attention of the reader and eventually make an impression of some sort on the reader. There are many different approaches that the author may take in order to achieve this common goal. One approach that can be used is the particular style of writing ...
According to the prophecy the lofty ramparts of Troy will fall anyway, but the Greek fortifications wont last longer. That is why the poem makes accent on the ephemeral nature of human lives and the world they live in. the poem suggests that mortals have to try to become honorable as possible and to be remembered as well. If their bodies cant survive them, their words and deeds are able to do that. (Lattimore 1951) Language. The Iliad is written in dactylic hexameter. The poem is told to comprise 15,693 lines of verse and is divided into 24 books foe convention.
The Homeric style of narration is characterized by stock epithets, repetition of words, phrases and chunks of the text. The stock phrases are used to ease the narration. Iliad is the most complete example of hexameter example. Iliads hexameter contains higher proportion of dactyls that other hexameter poems. This example of hexameter is characterized by a less fixed followings of the principles that the authors of later epics almost invariably adhered to. Homer places spondee in the fifth foot and there are occurrence of long syllables which must be read as short as well. The words are often changed in order to fit the hexameter.
Occasionally the names of characters are changed as well. (Fitzgerald 1991) Imagery. Through imagery the poet tries to express something important and significant about the characters and storyline. For example, book 22 is the evidence of imagery added the significance to narration. There is a network of fire imagery connected with Achilles heroism. The imagery of fire is a continuation of the image which accompanies Achilles appearance in book 18 at the ditch to frighten the Trojans with his war cry and is designed to strengthen the impression of Achilles destructive power.
(Lattimore 1951) Athena causes the fire around the Achilles head. In turn this flame is compared with signal fires of a besieged city. Besieged city as image is a foreshadowing of what the city of Troy will soon experience when Achilles kills its champion Hector. It is necessary to add that Achilles amour is created by the god of fire and the images on the shield are also associated with fire: starts, moon and sun. It is known that in book 22 the brightness of Achilles armor was compared with the destructive Orions Dog which is told to rise in the end of the summer when heat caused diseases. Then his spear is compared with the Hesper (evening star) which gleams brightly as the sky is darkening. It is apparent that there are many other images involved in the poem, which contribute to the poets narration. Metaphors. Metaphor is a comparison between two completely different matters without using as or like.
A Characterization Of Achilles A Characterization Of Achilles Essay, Research Paper Anger is a brief lunacy. -Horace The Iliad, an epic poem written by Homer, portrays rage and vengeful human behavior. In his work, Homer introduces Achilles, an invincible and stubborn warrior. He has no match on the battlefield and is considered one of the greatest Greek fighters in the Trojan War (Sparknotes). ...
For example, Menelaus is a wild beast is an example of metaphor. Literally it doesnt mean that he was a beast, it means that he only shares some characteristics with it. But metaphors are nit frequently used in the Iliad, they occur in the formulaic phrase. For example, winged words. It is obvious that words are without wings, but they are able to fly out from someones mouth similar to birds. Once the word is spoken it is impossible to return it like it is difficult to capture a bird. (Fitzgerald 1991) Similes.
Simile is a comparison of two different things with the use of like or as. For example, Menelaus was wandering through the throng like a wild beast. He is compared with the beast because of his desire to find Paris at all costs. The purpose of such simile is to demonstrate a word-picture and to create more vivid picture and description of a character. Similes unlike metaphor are frequently used in Homers styles. Homer always used short similes which became a standard characteristic of the epic tradition. It is necessary to add that first thirty-five lines of the book have at least four similes.
The similes are told to be the attention-grabbing part of the storyline. Such descriptions are very detailed and rather grotesque. Similes are used for better imagination of the event or character. For example, they swarmed forth like wasps from a roadside nest. Poet could say that the army was moving forward to the opposite lines, but he preferred to use the simile. Many similes were about natures animals and many others included the weather: dust storms, thunder and lightning, tornados and hurricanes. They were used in order to describe the war and fighting: but now, wild as a black cyclone twisting out of a cloudbank, building up from the day’s heat, blasts and towers- so brazen Ares looked to Tydeus’ son Diomedes. (Lattimore 1951) In conclusion it is necessary to admit that the Iliad is a great example of ancient poetry proclaiming the glory of war and honor as the most important values in the life of every man.
Homer’s Iliad would have been severely criticized by Socrates, as depicted by Plato in The Republic. Plato is critical of Greek literature and mythology and even went so far as to propose a system of censorship in the ideal city. Plato believed myths to be lies and thus the propagation of these lies should be halted in society. In The Republic he wrote, “Whenever they tell a tale that ...
Works cited Fitzgerald, Robert. The Iliad of Homer. USA: Penguin Books, 1991. Griffin, Jasper. Homer on Life and Death. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980. Lattimore, Richmond.
The Iliad of Homer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951..