The Importance Of Nestor In Homer's Iliad

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Register to read the introduction… Agamemnon's suggestion of retreat to the homeland is, in the beginning, received in silence. Finally, it is Diomedes who rises to his feet and proclaims that returning home would be folly. Diomedes then reminds Agamemnon of his responsibilities and the rest of the troops of their heroic heritage. He then goes on to say that he and the rest of the soldiers will remain until the fall of Troy, and if they (the soldiers) decide to leave he will remain, with one other only, to fight. Nestor then speaks up and praises Diomedes' battle prowess and excellence in council. After giving Diomedes this praise Nestor then explains that, because of his age and lack of experience, he does not quite drive the matter home and will proceed to do so himself. Nestor proclaims it is now time for the evening meal and suggests sentries be placed on the trench for the evening. Nestor's point in this is that the day is gone and not to dwell on the defeat, and the fact of the men needing rest and food. Nestor then advises a council of all senior chiefs to swap ideas and to set the best plan into motion. Nestor, although he knows himself to be wise, knows the value of the opinions of the other chiefs and advisors. At the council Nestor advises reconciliation with Achilles, a plan he has been forming over quite some time. Nestor's forceful, but tactfully …show more content…
Achilles honors Nestor's age and experience with a gift and, in return, Nestor prays Achilles will achieve a similar happiness. Through Achilles' deep respect for Nestor he is later able to appreciate and value Priam, the father of Hektor. The aged Priam, much like Nestor, represents an equilibrium between the values, morals and peace of home, on the one hand, and the hate and barbarism of war on the other.

Nestor's importance to the Iliad is often forgotten. His tact, motivational abilities, morality and balance are often overshadowed by Achilles' barbarism, Odysseus' all around prowess, Hektor's courage and valor, and Priam's kingliness. Nestor is the balance between morality and barbarism, peace and war, home and adventure, and connects the present with the past and reveals the continuity of life. “No other character has Nestor's ability to bring order from disorder”(Goodrich 117 ).

Works Cited and Consulted:

Bespaloff, Rachel. On the Iliad. Trans. Mary McCarthy. New York: Pantheon Books,

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