War Culture In The Iliad

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The Iliad by Homer depicts a destructive war between the Achaeans and the Trojans as a criticism to the collective social norms and tradition that war promotes. Throughout the epic, the idea of war is championed by the both the Achaeans and the Trojan as the most formidable form of solving their dispute. However, this form of problem solving involves a social-Darwinian scenario where the strongest survive, while those who survive the war receive honor and praise from their people. Nevertheless, Homer utilizes the Greek’s romantic obsession with war as an instrument to criticize the violent practice through their actions. A culture formed around war tradition celebrates death and barbarities attitudes that emerge from war. Their ideals, convictions, …show more content…
The promotion of war leads the Greek to value certain actions over others, including strength, fame, and honor. The cultural norms that form from the appreciation of warrior traditions develop cultural norms where qualities like logic, morality, and respect are not prioritized. Furthermore, it changes the overall demeanor of its citizens as they engage in barbaric acts to conquer the praise of the people. Consequently, Homer depicts Achilles victimization to this war culture as he presents Achilles dragging Hector’s body around. He states “ he {Achilles} pierced the tendons of both feet behind from heel to ankle… Then lifting the glorious armour aboard, he mounted and touched the horses with his whip, and they eagerly leapt forward. Dragged behind, Hector’s corpse raised a cloud of dust, while his outspread hair flowed, black, on either side. (459) Achilles’s behavior in the battlefield is clearly representative of the dangers of praising war. His presence at the battlefield disabled Achilles’s sense of morality and respect for other humans because the norms promoted by war incentivize destruction and mockery of his victims. Moreover, Homer characterizes Achilles as a violent warrior in order to objectify him and illustrate dismantling effects wars have on humans. The Greeks by promoting and engaging in continuous warfare, limited their definition of honor, effectively promoting a social system where honor is gained through the heinousness of war, instead of through benevolence and logical actions. As a result, Achilles strives to become a praised warrior, in an environment where barbaric behavior, like the total destruction of Hector’s body, is tolerated as it executed within the context of war. In contrast, Homer presents Achilles’s encounter with Priam to highlight the difficulty found behind escaping the death , devastation, and the

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