The Iliad by Homer is ancient Greek epic poem which took place during the Trojan war the poem starts with priest Chryses asking their leader, Agamemnon to release his daughter because Agamemnon kept her and he was not giving her back later on Agamemnon agrees to release her but instead he asks for Achilles’ girlfriend even though Achilles gave up his girlfriend but still consequences happened and it leads to death of many characters while war is glorified in The Iliad, its consequences of death and destruction are not .
The Iliad glorifies war bravery on the battlefield. The Iliad says that men deserve more honour and glory if they show or choose to fight with bravery and stand up as soldiers or fighters. The Iliad makes fun of, or looks down on both men and Gods who turn away from conflict or aggression.
The Iliad says that to fight is to prove your honour, integrity and worth as a man or God, while to avoid war is to show only useless or negative qualities of existence for example when Achilles is deciding if he should return to battle in book 9 “two fates bear me on to the day of death. If I hold out here and I lay siege to Troy, my journey home is gone, but my glory never dies. If I voyage back to the fatherland I love, my pride, my glory dies. True, but the life that’s left me will be long”(Homer.9.499-504).
This shows that Achilles’ original problem is to live long but simple life or die young with glory Achilles worries the consequences which he will have if he stays in Troy Thetis’s Achilles mother told him that fate gave him only either live a short but glorious life in Troy or return to Phthia and live on in old age but darkness so Achilles had to option to choose from. In another hand Priam, Paris’ father berates him in book 23 “so he lashed out at his sons, cursing the sight of Helenus, Paris, Noble Agathon, Pammon, Antiphonus, Polites loud with the war cry…my vicious sons—my humiliations! If only you’d all been killed at the fast ships instead of my dear Hector “(24. 294-301).
about being a humiliation to him and a worthless son because he is not as brave or courageous in battle as his brother who died fighting the war. Priam calls Paris’s brothers Gods among men Heroes but says that Paris and his 8 other brothers who choose not to fight are disgraces and he has been cured by fate to have been left with these sons who are seen with scorn and ridicule because they do not fight and die heroically. Book 5 shows Athena giving Diomedes superior strength so that he can conquer his enemies in battle and win great glory and honour.
“Then Pallas Athena granted Tydeus’ son Diomedes strength and daring- so the fighter would shine forth and tower over the Argives and win himself great glory.”(5.1-3).This whole book describes Diomedes great bravery and is written to honour and give glory to his heroism in war, through the strength Athena helped gives him.
These 3 examples show how valued honour and fighting in the battlefield of war was for the Gods and mortal characters both in The Iliad. Despite giving great esteem and admiration to those who fought bravely in war. The Iliad describes death as a brutal and horrible experience for mortal characters in The Iliad, the ultimate consequences of battle are not glorified or revered. For example in book 16 “Death cut him short. The end closed in around him, swirling down his eyes, choking off his breath. Patroclus planted a heel against his chest, wrenched the spear from his wound and the midriff came out with it” (16. 592-596). There is a particularly gruesome description of Patroclus killing another soldier in battle.
As in the quote above death is described as darkness descending, in book 4 death id described as the dark that came whiling down across his eyes “the bronze spearpoint lodged in the men’s forehead, smashing through his skull and the dark came whirling down across his eyes”(4.532-534).life seems to just suddenly stop. Death is the ultimate end. For mortals, there is no afterlife, no “heaven” or rewards to look forward to receiving in the “next life”.
Death ends everything. When Achilles friend Patroclus is killed in battle, Book 18 describes how horrible Achilles felt about this death and losing his comrade to war. “A black cloud of grief came shrouding over Achilles.
Both hands clawing the ground for soot and filth, he poured it over his head, fouled his handsome face and black ashes settled onto his fresh clean war-shirt. Overpowered in all his power, sprawled in the dust, Achilles lay there, fallen”(18. 24-29). This is showing the way death and grief describe as overwhelming, horrific events. Even as heroism in battle is glorified, The Iliad is clear in it’s fatalistic, gruesome and horrifying descriptions of death. There are many themes of destruction and devastation in The Iliad, but one theme that is most often repeated is self-destruction. The author seems to be warning about the many pitfalls through the destructive choices and downfalls of the characters, for example, Patroclus was destroyed by pride he made the self- serving decision to wear Achilles’ armor in to battle to increase his own reputation and glory but ended up being killed because of it “and rammed his spearshaft home, stabbing deep in the bowels, and the brazen point went jutting straight out through Patroclus’ back. Down he crashed – horror gripped the Achaean armies.
(16. 955-958).Another example of the same self-destructive pride and doom is when Hector takes Achilles Armor after Patroclus dies. “Stripped as Patroclus is- Hector with the flashing helmet has his armor.”(17.
780-781). Now Hector in the same armor in another self-destructive attempt to glorify himself and he is violently killed. Pride is also seen in other characters as Agamemnon when he is willing to give back Chryses’s daughter but due to his pride, he still wants another one instead of her Agamemnon said, “but I am still willing to give her back, even so, if that is best for all.
What I really want is to keep my people safe, not seen them dying. But fetch, me another prize, and straight off too, else I alone of the Argives go without my honour. That would be a disgrace, you are all witness, look – my prize is snatched away!” (1.135-141). This quote shows how Agamemnon has pride and wants to get another girl to give back chryses’ daughter. In The Iliad, pride is depicted as a destructive force, as it causes conflict between Achilles and Agamemnon, on other hand pride is also shown in The Iliad as some kind of advantage in the war, where soldiers remind of their positions so that they fight harder.In The Iliad, war may be greatly glorified and battle soldiers honoured as heroes but the consequences of war are made clear in the horrific and violent way death is described as well as disastrous outcomes of self- destructive actions.