Homeric treatment of death (The Illiad)

Essay by car1a26High School, 10th grade May 2006

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As much as death is important in "The Illiad", the important and glorious lives of warriors is where it begins. War is very celebrated in the Iliad, and Homer portrays his character's worthiness in the story based on their bravery to die. All the fighters shared the same ambition, which was to die with fulfillment from war. Homer points out that the fight is never a waste of time and rather a journey that leads the soldiers to death. Achilles, for example, could have chosen a pleasant, calm life with his family, but instead chose to fight proudly and end his life doing that. At that, Achilles wins eternal glory by fighting for the end and knowing he will die performing these actions.

The Iliad also puts a lot of emphasis on the fate of the warriors. Even before they go to battle to fight, they know whether they are going to die or live.

Hector knew he was going to die in the fight against Achilles but he found courage not to run away, and handled the situation like a brave man. His death was expected and yet, was still appealing because of his character that we grew to love. Homer does not keep us guessing and doesn't use foreshadowing in any way. Alternatively, he tells us what the future holds so he can discuss the details and repeat important themes, rather than rely on drama and anticipation to tell the story. This allows for a more intense understanding of the lives of the characters and why they make the decisions they do. When these characters die we have better appreciation for their lives.

It was very interesting the way the soldiers took so much pride in killing someone in war. After killing someone, they would...