Kleos: Glory, And Glory In Homer's Iliad

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Kleos is a term often used in ancient greek epics that can be translated now to “renown”, or “glory”. Kleos, or glory, is an encompassing theme within Homer’s epic the Iliad, it means the achievement of one’s immortal fame. It is a glory that lives on past the expiry of ones mortal life and is often the driving force behind many attitudes and actions of the central characters within the Iliad. This is especially prominent in the case of Hector and Achilles, Both characters are considered hero’s in their own right and are looked up to by the greeks. They both are part of the war that is the driving source of plot within the Iliad, where they make decisions, sometimes against rational judgment, in honour of achieving their Kleos. The conquering …show more content…
Achilles is portrayed as the central Hero and warrior in Homer’s epic the Iliad. Glory is a great motivation for Achilles. Their are many instances through the Iliad where it is evident that Achilles is influenced by his want for the fame of Kleos. When the opportunity to go fight against the trojans is presented he joins the war. A great warrior like Achilles can earn his Kleos through his courage and prowess in battle. This idea of Kleos is recognized universally by the greeks, Achilles’ own mother even acknowledges the fame he’ll gain from the war. There is one rather pivotal instance in the Iliad where Achilles ponders the choice to stay or return home, "If I hold out here and I lay siege to Troy, / my journey home is gone, but my glory never dies. / If I voyage back to the fatherland I love, / my pride, my glory dies.../ true, but the life that’s left me will be long, / the stroke of death will not come on me quick,” (Iliad 9.500-505 ). As it is well known, Achilles stays and fights and dies but is still one of the best known hero's to this day. It can be assumed that if the events and people within the Iliad were to be proven true, Achilles would have achieved his …show more content…
This is a likely fatal challenge but it would not be a heroic action to refuse such combat. When Hector goes to face Achilles he finds his resolve wavering. Slaying Achilles would bring great honour while turning back would bring upon him great shame. He knows he is likely to die but can’t bare the disgrace the would face him if be fled. Ultimately, he decides, “For me it would be a great deal better to meet Achilles man to man, kill him, and go home, or get killed before the city, dying in glory,” (Iliad, 22.136-139). Hector seems to accept his fate by ultimately finding comfort in meeting the glorious death of a warrior, with this realization he says “So now I meet my fate. Even so, let me not die ingloriously without a fight, but in some great action which those men yet to come will hear about.”(Iliad 22.83-86). In his final moments before death is it his glorious death that brings him peace. Conclusively, both hero’s from the Iliad provide many instances in which desire to achieve glory heavily influences decisions and actions at pistol points in their lives. Achilles fights for his own glory and renown, and eventually for Patroclus as well, while Hector’s glory comes from a place of honour for himself and family. Both are hero’s on their own respective sides and are heavily driven by the Kleos. In a resect the Iliad it’s self is a form of Kleos, forever immortalizing

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