October 25, 2013
Homer’s The Iliad has many recurring themes. Throughout the story, the Greeks and Trojans fight a long hard battle that leaves many dead. The themes of honor, fate and the role of the Gods play a very important role in the Iliad. I am primarily going to focus on how these themes affect Achilles and Agamemnon. In the beginning of the book we see that Agamemnon fails to honor Achilles as well as not returning Chryseis, thus creating chaos for the Greeks. Achilles receives a fate in which he can choose to live a long life but not be remembered or fight and die on the battlefield and be proclaimed as a hero. Each decision one makes ultimately creates a reaction from the Gods who shift the momentum of the war back and forth between the Greeks and Trojans. The themes of honor, fate, and the role of Gods are evident in the beginning of the book.
The theme of honor creates turmoil in the beginning of the book. Having honor is greater than life itself. When it comes to honor in the Iliad I think of status and recognition. Honor comes from the outside and our actions determine how one will be remembered. Agamemnon falsely claims to be the best, he made a mistake and doesn’t want to lose honor. When forced to return Chryseis, Agamemnon takes the war prize of Achilles. The prize was a woman named Briseis. This enrages Achilles and he chooses to not participate in the war. I believe this was selfish yet somewhat justified of Achilles to let his comrades down due to Agamemnon’s foolish actions. Agamemnon’s pursuit of honor led him to affect not only Achilles but the entire Greek Army. Achilles worked very hard to achieve honor, and Agamemnon took it away from him in a blink of an eye. Achilles now rejects the Greek value system. Agamemnon never really wanted Briseis but took her to show his authority. The obsession of honor leads Achilles to despise Agamemnon. When it comes to ransom the right thing to do was to...