The Lesser Evil

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Sarah F. Indangan January 22, 2013
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IV-9 BSE English Professor Jocson

The Lesser Evil

In this paper, evil is measured in terms of “Homeric sins” or how an epic violated Homeric conventions and the goal is to know which of the epics has the less violation of those conventions. The epics Iliad and Odyssey will be compared and contrasted according to the movies by Wolfgang Petersen and Andrei Konchalovsky.

Iliad ended in the defeat of Troy, with the epic hero dead but his companions, the Myrmidons, alive. Odyssey, in the other hand ended in triumph, with its epic hero alive but his companions dead. What could be the reason behind their differences? Why can’t both the epics end in triumph? In Iliad, Troy is defeated because Greece is supported by the gods. As Agamemnon had said it in the movie, “the gods support the strong”. Although, Achilles and his Myrmidons desecrated Apollo’s temple and killed his priests, the sun god did not strike Achilles down that is why even Hector was restless after his first encounter with Achilles. Iliad’s epic hero died because of his own Hamartia or tragic flaw, Achilles’ heel was his mortality and it only took the coward and feeble Paris to kill him. The Myrmidons survived the war because of their skills and strength not to mention the favour of the gods. In contrast with the tragic fate of Achilles and the Trojans, Odysseus was triumphant in battle because of his tricks and his experience in war and most of all, Athena’s favour. He was her favourite and she knows him inside out; Odysseus pride and inborn cunningness makes her adore him even more. Athena said that “The gods will not do what man must do for himself”, and so Odysseus did his part in the war but his Hubris or excessive pride placed him in great danger because of proclaiming to the sea that he won the war and will not need the help of the gods when in fact he won the war primarily because...
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