How Does Achilles Celebrate Death In Greek Poetry

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A few great questions have plagued humanity throughout the ages, all of which are impossible to answer. How did the world begin? How did we come to be? What happens when we die? It is human nature to be uncomfortable with unanswerable questions, and so different cultures developed their own mythologies to give them a sort of comfort in the face of the unknown. The human issue with mortality is one that every culture must address, but they do so in a huge variety of ways. Some cultures celebrate death, some fear it, and many mourn it. The people of ancient Greece epitomized most Western views on death and commemoration, and so we can still sympathize with their views and motivations today. Analysing Homeric poetry gives us a window to how the people of classical Greece coped with both the loss of a loved one and the impossible question of death. The Greek thoughts on these issues are clearly evident in lines one through thirty-three in book nineteen of The Iliad, where Achilles is reacting to the death of his close friend Patroclus. …show more content…
While some cultures celebrate death as the beginning of life, this scene clearly demonstrates that the Greeks celebrated life over death. This scene also brings in a great deal of psychology surrounding how the culture developed their beliefs of death, and it elegantly tackles both how people handled death around them and death in general. Their intricate beliefs involving the underworld, the treatment of their dead, and their other customs around death are all coping mechanisms. By developing a full and clear image of a good afterlife, they could say they had an answer to the human question of mortality and ease their minds. This single short passage gives us a great deal of insight into how Greek society as a whole met with the impossible question of

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