Analysis Of Homer 's ' The Iliad ' Essay

762 Words Oct 6th, 2015 4 Pages
In Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad, the Achaeans and Trojans abide by a deadly hero culture that compels them to fight for honour and glory, usually to their deaths. However, in this pursuit, the Achaean and Trojan warriors contrast greatly in their actions to achieve eternal glory. While the Trojans preserve their sense of civility and morality in the brutal setting of the Trojan War, the Achaeans resort to cruel acts of violence that demonstrate their lack of humanity. Using Homeric similes, this paper will examine the Achaeans’ loss of humanity though their animalistic inclinations and destructive presence on the battlefield — both ideas that conflict with the civilized mannerisms exuded by the Trojans. Throughout the Iliad, Homer equates the Achaeans’ desire for bloodshed to an animalistic urge, effectively dehumanizing them in comparison to their opponents, the Trojans. In Book 5, Diomedes’ “mauls [Trojans] thick-and-fast, pilling corpse on corpse” (Homer 5.157) like a “lion” (5.151). This comparison emphasizes Diomedes’ insatiable appetite for destruction and consequently, the corruption of his human qualities. These animalistic actions demean the fundamental values, like compassion and sympathy, that are prized and upheld in civilized groups. At this point in the war, Diomedes no longer resemble a civilized man, but “a tawny lion” (11.644) “crav[ing] meat” (11.644). Where Homer likens the Achaean warriors to savage beasts, the Trojans retain their qualities and morals…

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