War And Morality In The Iliad

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The War on Morality

Morality is defined as principles concerning the line between right and wrong, or good and bad. Ethics is defined as moral guidelines that govern a person's actions. Morality and ethics are often suspended in war time. This fact is demonstrated by the massive amount of civilian casualties that wars seem to carry as well as, the destruction of homes and land. But why would such a thing occur. After all, wars are fought by humans who have the capacity for compassion. In an ideal world these things would be less likely to occur. Using the Iliad to provide points, it is the purpose of this essay to demonstrate why such things happen.

The Iliad is a story of strife and struggle between two countries, the Greeks and
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Philosophers seem to agree that the morals entrenched into the human mind are derived from the teachings of a higher power, otherwise they’d be completely subjective and the individuals of society would have to choose what's right and wrong. Unfortunately, instead of filling the respective armies with guilt for the disregard of the morals undoubtedly placed upon the land by them, the Greek gods and goddesses instead pick sides in the conflict further spurring the war and causing death. In particular Zeus, Athena, Hera, Apollo, Aphrodite and Ares have their interests displayed in the Iliad. Aphrodite is the cause of the entirety of the Trojan war, by meddling with Helen’s life. She as well as, Zeus, Ares, and Apollo favour the Trojan side of the conflict. Zeus has many rolls to play from tricking Agamemnon to ensuring the death of Patroclus. Zeus isn’t seen as a god who would meddle in the mattes of war by lying to a commander of an army. Agamemnon was even said to be loved by Zeus which makes his actions seem even more against his nature. This behavior trickles down to the mortal realm in the suspension of morals by the respective armies, such as when Agamemnon implores his brother Menelaus to kill two men who could have been taken captive and provided a handsome ransom. ‘ The behavior of the gods in this way gives more reasoning for the behaviour of the

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