Iliad: Human Condition

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In Homer’s Iliad, the human condition of life and death are being depicted, while we see how people lived their life in Greek culture. In Book 18, the great warrior Akhilleus looses his good friend Patroklos in the midst of battle, and with him he had Akilleus’ shield. Akhilleus’ mother goes to get another shield for her son from the great G/D, Hephaestus, and the Greek icon was born. The shield is made out of, “ durable fine bronze and tin… with silver and… honorable gold,” while it depicts incredible images of the everyday life, while really focusing in on the earth, sea, and sky. Hephaestus includes images of the: celebrations of life and the joy that comes with it, and how injustices go in the world in order to show the positive and negative aspects of life at that time. The shield reveals images of the loving nature of people in everyday life and during special occasions, while at the same time showing the respect people have for their all mighty G/D’s, and also acknowledging the importance of the simplistic and important life of an ordinary farmer. Homer begins with a scene from a wedding where people are lighting torches out of happiness, men are dancing and singing, and everyone seems to be having a thoroughly good time. The shield does not simply show people smiling, but rather, “ here young men and the most desired young girls were dancing, linked touching each other’s wrists, the girls in linen, in soft gowns… the girls wore garlands, and the men had daggers golden-hilted, hung on silver lanyards.” The intimacy of young men and women dancing while holding each other, and the way that they are dressed with fine clothing for the occasion represents the good things of life on the shield. Homer’s use of superior elements like “gold” and “silver” when describing the men’s daggers and women’s lanyards, shows that Hephaestus wanted people to not overlook that image because he felt it was important that we realize that the good times were present during that...
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