1. In what ways are these books universal?
Even though some people don’t believe in gods, the evidence of mortal struggle in these stories is what makes them relatable. Throughout history, men and women alike have been fighting for fame, fortune, love, honor, power, and pride. For that reason alone, The Iliad is relatable in almost any culture worldwide. The people involved in The Iliad may have pretty severe exaggerations of these qualities, but it is true that they are ever present, nonetheless. Menelaus fought for the pride that had been wounded when Paris stole Helen right from under his nose. Agamemnon used his brother’s wounded pride as an excuse to fight for more power. Achilles fought for fame and glory. Hector fought to protect his homeland, his family, and his people. There are also some men who just want to make a home for themselves and their families. In The Odyssey, all that Odysseus wants is to get home to his wife, his son, and his people. In The Aeneid, Aeneas just wants to build a new city for the Trojans who survived the Trojan War and escaped with him from Troy. These books also end up being a fight for power. When Odysseus returned home, he found it filled with suitors fighting for control of his land. When Aeneas finally made it to Italy, he had to fight Turnus and the Rutulians for the right to marry Lavinia and for the right to build his new city undisturbed. No matter where you go, some level of conflict will exist. Whether that conflict is as mundane as a fight with your neighbor, or an all-out war with another country, humankind will always fight for fame, fortune, love, honor, power, and pride if they feel it is necessary. 2. Compare and contrast the roles of the gods in the books we’ve just read to the role of government in our lives. Throughout the epics we have just read, the gods are a law unto themselves. However, you can sometimes see a chain of command among them. This chain of command is most similar to the...
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