The Iliad: Literary Analysis

Topics: Achilles, Trojan War, Homer Pages: 4 (1563 words) Published: November 5, 2008
The Iliad: Literary Analysis

Throughout The Iliad, an epic poem written by Homer, there were numerous warriors and other characters that could be looked upon as heroes; some of these heroes included Achilles, Ajax, Diomedes, Hector, and Glaucus. All of these individuals were heroes because of their remarkable mental and physical strength: they were courageous and were better fighters in war than other ordinary men. The trade of battle was a way of life to the Greeks back in Homer’s time. Children were raised to become great servicemen to their country, and warriors lived to fight for and defend their nation with pride and valor. The heroic code was a strict morality that dealt with matters relating to honor and integrity in battle. Seeing as the code was focused around honor during war, it was taken very seriously by the Greeks of Homer’s time, since honor was essential to Homer’s heroes. One hero in The Iliad best represented the heroic code through his actions and his mentality; this character is “swift-footed” Achilles, though Hector could also be considered as the man that is the epitome of the heroic code.

It could be argued that the heroic code was the most important code or law to the Homeric heroes. Wars over territory and power (such as the Trojan War that The Iliad is a story of) were common in Homer’s day, so heroism and honor were thus major components of Greek society. Every warrior wanted to be remembered for centuries to come, so by following the heroic code and doing great things for their country, they could possibly become heroes themselves. The heroic code said that the highest honor could only be worn in battle; hunting and athletics, two other heroic activities, could only win the hero an inferior honor. This was because in battle, the stakes were higher than in any sport, as one mistake could easily mean an end to a warrior’s life. Success in war was sweeter than in any sport, too, and prizes from the spoils of war were awarded for...
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