AIM Global Humanities
November 20th, 2010
Courage in The Iliad
On the topic of courage, John Quincy Adams once said, “Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air” (http://www.quotations page.com/quote/1593.html). The point the former president tries to make is that someone with courage can triumph in all their endeavors. Homer, the poet who wrote The Odyssey, shares Quincy’s views on courage. In fact, in the epic poem The Iliad, he uses the same ideals as the moral. In order to unveil to his audience that courage is necessary to succeed in life and battle, Homer utilizes the characters Achilleus and Hektor.
Achilleus, the main character from The Iliad, is the first character to illustrate the fact that courage is the most important weapon in a battle. The first act of courage Achilleus displays is the ability to stay strong in the face of adversity. He personifies the action when he comes back to fight with the Achaians despite Agamemnon’s earlier outbursts against him. The act of courage reflects the moral because if Achilleus didn’t have the courage to return to the Achaians he wouldn’t have defeated Hektor. Thus, because of courage he prevailed in his endeavor for revenge. The other act of courage Achilleus demonstrates
is standing up for what he believes. Agamemnon is being forced to give back his woman war prize and demands that Achilleus releases his war prize to him to reconcile. Achilleus retorts, “Never, when the Achaians sack some well-founded citadel of the Trojans, do I have a prize that is equal to your prize” (I 159-160). Never will someone win their desires without having the courage to fight for them. Hence, Achilleus mirrors the moral regarding courage in The Iliad.
Another character Homer utilizes to exhibit the necessity of courage in battle and life is Hektor. The first act of courage Hektor demonstrates is the courage it takes to...