The Iliad: Is Glory Worth Dying Over

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Is Glory Worth Dying Over
The Iliad is the oldest work of western literature and it is considered by the majority to be the most important piece ever. It is a story of the Trojan War. Instead of focusing on the battle outside the walls of Troy, I found the internal, mental battle that the hero, Achilles was fighting to be much more interesting. Achilles is tired of fighting in combat. He has already won great material wealth and glory from other conquests around the world. Achilles says, For not worth the value of my life are all the possessions they fable were won for Ilion, that strong-founded citadel, in the old days when there was peace, before the coming of the sons of the Achaians; not all that the stone doorsill of the Archer
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He says that no amount of treasure is worth his life. Many things can be won at war and taken back home but the loss of life is permanent. Life, once it is gone, never comes back. Achilles then mentions the destiny that his mother, Thetis, has conveyed to him. Achilles has two options. He can either choose to head back home and live a long life with no glory or Achilles can stay and fight and live a short life with eternal glory. Achilles 's conscience is heavy. At this point in the epic, Achilles has chosen life over glory. He wants to go back home to Phthia, the land of his father, and die old. Achilles denies glory. This is very rare because at the time glory and social status went hand-in-hand and they meant everything. In ancient times, material wealth was a status symbol for glory as acquiring treasure often meant being successful in combat. So, cattle, sheep, tripods, horses, gold, and land would appeal to any ancient man at the time. This offer made by Agamemnon, however, did not appeal to Achilles because he has already acquired a great deal of material wealth in previous military conquests. Essentially, Achilles is calling the ancients out on their hogwash. Trading life for any amount of material wealth is far from an even trade. The truly precious things in the world are those intangible things like life and glory that cannot be bought, sold, or stolen. Achilles condemns war in general here and says that life is not worth

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