Homer's the Iliad: "War" Representative of Fears

Topics: Iliad, Trojan War, Achilles Pages: 9 (3846 words) Published: October 7, 2011
The Essay on Homer’s the Iliad
“War” Representative of Fears

The most important things in Homer’s Iliad which could be grounds of fighting and battle among characters are fear of losing face and glory authority, fear of death, and fear of being unable to keep promise. Although, Homer’s Iliad’s central themes are glory of war and heroic life of warrior, alongside with glorious war and heroic characteristic of characters in the Iliad, what is embedded? In the Iliad, depictions of war represent extreme troublesome situations for which warriors are encountering. In such trouble situations, as always be seen in various books of the Iliad, that build Homeric heroes, what are actually deeply hidden in those heroic characters’ hearts? Apart from bravery, love, rage, stubbornness, leadership, and so on, that those characters have, fear is what is hidden in them. What are those fears? What makes those heroic characters become fear? And how should we define fears? It is responsibility of this essay to discuss the issues.

Fear of losing face and glory authority
Why does Agamemnon refuse to return Chryseis to her father, Chryses? Why Agamemnon gives the condition to Achilles that he will take Briseis, Achilles’ prize, in replacement if he is to give Chryseis back to her father? Conflict over Agamemnon and Achilles is discussed in Book 1 where fear of losing face and authority is recognized. Agamemnon sees himself as a great leader of all men; therefore, if he returns Chryseis to her father due to the plague and wrath set by Apollo, as requested by Chryses, without any ransom, he will lose his face. This fear of losing face and authority is bind with characteristic of heroic leader who is expected to be honored and obeyed by all of his subordinates. Moreover, to claim that he is higher, in position, than Achilles, Agamemnon not only refuses Achilles’ suggestions to return Chryseis, but also gives a hint that he is higher by claiming Briseis as a ransom for returning Chryseis. It could be claimed that fear of losing face in this very first of the Book is the important ground of all dreadful situations occurs in the rest of the whole Books of the Homer’s Iliad. Shown below is Agamemnon’s claim of his superior to the army in order to secure his authority and face in front of the army. “You are a great warrior, godlike Achilles, but don’t imagine you can trick me into that. I am not going to be outmanoeuvred or persuaded by you. “Give up the girl”, you say, in order to keep your own prize safe. Do you expect me to sit tamely by, while I am robbed? No: if the army is prepared to give me a fresh prize, they must choose one to my taste to make up for my loss. If not I shall come and help myself to your prize, or Ajax’s, or maybe I shall walk off with Odysseus’. And what an angry man I shall leave behind me!” (Jones, 2003, p. 7) On the other hands, Achilles also claims himself as a great warrior that no one could bring him down. He claims that without him, the Greeks will never win any glory. Therefore, that Agamemnon being fetches his prize is making him losing his face and authority. Achilles, then, decides to act against Agamemnon so that Agamemnon knows how important Achilles is by showing his desire to walk out of the war and sail back home. This occurs in the very first place of the story. It addresses that fear can cause the whole things, expectable and un-expectable in the story. So as normal life of people, fear can cause everything to be happened. If one cannot control or overcome their fears, it may come to miserable thing where one cannot expect. The hardest thing for one’s life is controlling and overcoming fears in their minds. Achilles’ reaction against Agamemnon in protection of himself from losing face and authority is illustrated below. “We join your expedition, you shameless swine, to please you, to get satisfaction from the Trojans for Menelaus and yourself, dog-face – a fact you utterly...
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