Essay about The Iliad and Greek Heroes

1484 Words May 4th, 2005 6 Pages
The Iliad is an epic tale of war and hero's within the Greek way of life. A

predominant and consistent theme of honor and glory reside throughout the poem. The

motivation for any Homeric Greek is glory, or "Kleos", that is to be honored and

respected among their people. Emphasis is put on living by the heroic code. Honor is

essential to the Greeks and life would not be worth living without it. When a warrior or

hero is advised to avoid risking their life in battle it almost drives them even further

towards the deed. It is better to be killed in action rather than to live and be thought a

coward. By our rational standards one would certainly not be thought a coward if they

didn't rush into battle to almost
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He makes specific mention of the shame he would feel if he did so…" …..yet I would feel deep shame before the Trojans, and the Trojan women with trailing garments, if like a coward I were to shrink aside from the fighting….." (Book 6, line 441). The avoidance of shame and the pursuit of Kleos is what drives these hero's to battle. Now it's obvious that these people live by a different set of ideals and moral truths than we do now. But you have to consider the time and way of life that was the trend in those ancient times. They didn't have television, they didn't have the internet, it wasn't like these heroes had day jobs, so they had to fight. For an every day American the choice between taking your men into battle and invading Canada or sitting on your couch and watching Seinfeld would seem to be an easy one. It would be just as easy for the Homeric Greeks, yet it doubt that they would pick the same option.
Call us cowards, but hey, at least you can call us. We don't risk our lives for random rewards of glory and respect as the cost of possible death. Our moral obligations lay to our family and loved ones as opposed to our ego and eternal honor.

However, it may also be possible that the positive reinforcement from such deeds as the Greeks performed would be far

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