The honor of every person in Homeric culture was important, but to the hero, his honor was paramount. He could not endure insults, and he felt that he had to protect his reputation — even unto death. The Homeric hero believed that men had to stand together in battle; men had to respect each other; and they had to refrain from excessive cruelty. This last condition was critically important for the Homeric hero.
In essence, the wrath of Achilles allows Homer to present and develop, within the cultural framework of heroic honor see Critical Essay 1the ideas of strife, alienation, and reconciliation. Second, the wrath of Achilles sets him up in clear contrast to his great Trojan counterpart in the story — Hektor.
When considering these three basic ideas that result from the wrath of Achilles, readers can see a grand design in the work that centers not so much on war as on the growth and development of an individual character. Achilles wrath is initiated by his sense of honor.
Honor for the Greeks, and specifically heroes, as readers have seen, existed on different levels. Fourth, and finally, the Greeks could obtain everlasting fame and glory for their accomplishments in life.
The wrath of Achilles is based on each of these concepts.
Underlying the idea of honor is another Greek concept — strife, personified by the goddess Eris. For the Greeks, life was based on the idea of strife and turmoil.
To try to avoid strife was to avoid life. A good life could be achieved by reconciling the factors that produced strife. However, war, nature, personality — everything — contained elements of strife that may not be completely reconcilable. This more elemental strife could lead to evil.
His parents, the goddess Thetis and the mortal Peleus, invite all the gods to their wedding except Eris strife. Eris, however, like the evil witch in fairy tales, attends anyway and tosses out the golden apple marked, "For the Fairest.
On a more personal level, Achilles himself is an embodiment of stressful opposites. One parent is mortal; one a goddess. Consequently, he knows both mortality and immortality.
He knows he must die, but he also has a sense of the eternal. He knows that if he avoids the war he can live a long life, but that if he fights, he will die young. He knows that glory and eternal fame can be his only through early death in war while long life can be secured only by giving up the ultimate glory a Greek seeks.
At first, Achilles attempts to avoid the Trojan War by pretending to be a woman; but, as in a number of instances, his attempts to avoid an action lead directly to that action.
Agamemnon takes Briseis from Achilles. In response, Achilles withdraws from the war, producing greater strife, both personally and within the larger context of the war. Achilles cannot reconcile his desire to fight honorably with his companions with his justifiable, but increasingly petulant, anger at Agamemnon.
As a result of his inner conflict, his alienation from his society, and his inability to resolve this conflict, Achilles sends his companion Patroklos into battle as an alter ego.
Patroklos even wears the armor of Achilles so that the Trojans will believe that Achilles has returned to battle. Patroklos is killed, and the turmoil within Achilles is magnified.
Achilles sent Patroklos into battle instead of going himself; now he bears responsibility for the death of his friend. Also, now the Trojans are so empowered that they appear poised to win the conflict with the Greeks. At this point, Achilles resolves the strife that led to his initial wrath but also begins the even greater wrath that results in the death of Hektor and almost takes Achilles beyond the bounds of humanity.We will write a custom essay sample on The ancient greek code of honor as demonstrated in Iliad and Odyssey specifically for you .
A summary of Themes in Homer's The Iliad. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Iliad and what it means.
Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. Iliad And Honor Throughout The Iliad, the heroic characters make decisions based on a definite set of principles, which are referred to as the "code of honor." The heroic code that Homer presents to the reader is an underlying cause for many of the events that take place, but.
In this poem, The Iliad, Homer presents Hector, not Achilles, as the true hero of the epic and the personification of honor and virtue. Homer portrays Hector, not only as a man with great morals, but also as a role model to all the Trojans.
Family and individual honor must be maintained despite the need to fight for the cause of one's homeland. If these two forms of honor--personal and patriotic--conflict with each other, personal honor comes first to the Homeric hero.
The Ancient Greeks are a proud people who placed a supreme importance to their accepted ideals of heroic honor. In some instances, fulfilling the duty of the code of honor was considered more important than saving their own lives (Perry 66).