Response to Homer’s Illad

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Response to Homer’s Illad

In Homer’s Illad, the heroes comprised of ordinary humans bestowed with supernatural abilities that had descended directly from the gods. One of the significant examples is that of Achilles, the son of a goddess. What is heroic about this individual and other special people is the ability to resurrect after dying or in other words, the ability to embrace mortality. The interaction among the heroes is governed mostly by the ability to achieve a state of immortality. However, gods and demi-gods also related as equals. The aspiration of every hero is to attain honor. In other words, the respect acquired from one’s equals. Honor is vital to the Homeric protagonists to the extent that life would be worthless in its absence. Therefore, honor is more valuable than existence itself. As it is evident in the poem Iliad, when a hero is guided to be considerate in evading a life-threatening situation while fighting, his only option is to disregard this admonition. A hero’s reputation is established mainly by his bravery and physical capabilities and to a slighter degree by their social ranking and wealth. The highest respect can only be earned in battle. In this setting, competition was at its peak and the stakes were the most valuable. A couple of other heroic events, hunting and sports held the lesser potential of earning the hero significant honor. Apart from these, courage and nobility were also considered extremely important values. For instance, in Book 23, line 11, Achilles instructed the people to “weep for Patroclus. We owe it to the head”. In the current society, the values captured in Homer’s Illad are the same ones being celebrated albeit with lesser enthusiasm. The modern society is slowly deviating away from upholding and celebrating essential value such as courage, athletic prowess, and heroism. Exaggerated heroism has been replaced with cowardice, selfishness, and fear as the fundamental principles that once guided heroes are gradually being neglected.

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