The Illiad Essay, Research Paper
The Iliad is undoubtedly one of the world s greatest stories of all time. It is an excellent mix of action, adventure, and heartbreak as it tells the tale of the bloody ten-year battle of Troy, and shows us that the cost of war is always great. The Iliad is the type of story that draws the reader in and doesn t let go till you finish the final page. This Greek story of suffering and triumph is a tale that will never be forgotten. The supposed blind author of both this story and the Odyssey, Homer, is thought to have lived around 800 and 750 BC. At this time it is believed Homer found a scribe who was could both read and write which he then proceeded in putting down the stories of the Iliad and the Odyssey in to writing, and thus being credited with being the author. Never the less the name of Homer will forever be written in the archives of time as the one who brought these two amazing stories into our lives.
There are so many characters in this book that to list them all would take up twenty pages so the following is a compilation of the most important and influential characters in the book.
It is difficult to pick a definite protagonist in the Iliad, but I would have to say it would be Achilles. He is the most powerful and handsome hero of the war, characterized by a violent and headstrong individualism, which later leads to his dismissal from the army of the Achaeans. He starts out disliking Agamemnon, but later turns his hatred to, Hector, the prince of Troy, after the death of Patroclus. He goes through a period of guilt for what he thinks is partly his fault in his friend s death. Then like a true hero he confronts his fears and rises up against Hector and Troy to win the war, but unfortunately as foretold at his birth he is killed in battle by Hector s brother Paris, but is remembered Forever as a hero.
Agamemnon is King of Mycenae, and commander and chief of the entire Achaean army. He is lord of the largest and wealthiest realm of Greece, and his thus supreme authority. Odysseus continuously reminds him of his bad leadership. He is slain by his wife and cousin upon his return to his homeland because of his decision to sacrifice their only daughter to the gods.
Hector is a brave warrior and prince of Troy. He knows that he is going to die sometime during the course of the war, but he doesn t let that stop him from displaying a wild mentality showing no fear in riding into battle and almost winning the war. Unfortunately he is slain by none other than the great hero Achilles. Hector s body is then stripped of all clothing, and attached to Achilles chariot where his body is then dragged behind as Achilles rides around Troy s wall.
Helen is the cause for the Trojan War, when another prince of Troy, Paris, captures her from her husband Menelaus of Sparta. No one surpasses her beauty, and she is said to be the most beautiful mortal in the world. She admires her husband in his fight against Paris, realizing that he is a superior man to Paris.
Menelaus is the king of Sparta and brother to Agamemnon. The seduction of his wife, Helen, is the cause of the Trojan War. He is the weakest and least courageous of the Achaean Lords, but this detracts nothing from his nobility and authority.
Paris is the younger brother of Hector, and is responsible for the war when he steals Helen away from Sparta. He can at times be brave, but is generally into more gentle activity as opposed to battle. He slays Achilles towards the end of the war, after Achilles kills Hector.
Patroclus is the squire to Achilles, and is probably Achilles best friend. He is described as slow to anger, always kind, and full of pity. He is torn between loyalty to Achilles, and duty to the Achaean army. He decides to go into battle, and when he is slain by Hector he dies in the armor of Achilles. Achilles is outraged and kills Hector to avenge Patroclus death.
Odysseus, king of Ithica, is most likely the smartest of the Greek leaders. He and Diomedes develop the plan of the wooden horse, and with this destroy Troy. Homer s other epic The Odyssey is about this same man and his long returning home from Troy.
The Iliad begins with Helen being stolen away by Paris, prince of Troy, from Menelaus the king of Sparta. Outraged he and his brother Agamemnon of Mycenae gather all the Greek forces and converge on Troy to get back Helen. One of the leaders that came to Troy was Achilles, who was the greatest warrior of the Greek army. He has a falling out with the Achaean army, and moves down the beach taking himself and his men out of the battle. All the while many bloody battles are taking place, and the Greeks are starting to loose the fight. Then Achilles best friend Patroclus is slain by Hector in a battle. This infuriates Achilles, and he and his men re-enter the war. Then in a one of the final battles the Achaean army pushes the Trojans all the way back to they re own walls. This is where Achilles kills Hector, and pulls his naked, bloody body around the walls of Troy on the back of his chariot. Then In the final battle of Troy Achilles was slain by Paris, Hector s brother. It was a devastating blow to the Greeks. The god among men was dead, and Troy still stood strong. So Odysseus, king of Ithica, concocted a plan to finish off the Trojans once and for all. The Greek ships were to pull out to sea, as if in retreat, but a huge wooden horse would be left on the shore as a offering or present to the Trojans. Secretly Odysseus, Diomedes, and a handful of men would be inside the belly. Then when Toy was asleep after the victory celebration the men would sneak out and slaughter everyone. So the Greeks did as Odysseus ordered, and the plan worked perfectly. Once the Trojans had wheeled the horse inside the city gates a great victory celebration started. So when the Greeks piled out of the horse late at night, everyone was so drunk they couldn t do a thing. After ten years of fighting the Greeks had finally won the war in Troy.
The Iliad constantly shows what the cost of war is, and how gruesome it can be. Homer shows us this by painting a vivid picture in of thousands of men being killed day after day year after year. We can look back a specific quote from the book said by one of the slaves that witnessed the battle by the river. He said The River was full of so many bodies that the water was stained as red as a cup of wine. No for this to be true thousands of men must have lost their lives. This is one of many examples used in the book to show us how costly war can be. Homer talks about war and the costs of it over and over again since the main plot of the book is war. It showed me that war isn t to cool, as T.V and video games bring it across as. It is gruesome, painful, and not a fun thing to be involved in. The author was just as jolted by the ending and course of the book, as any other reader would have been. The character that was probably changed the most would be Odysseus. I would have to say him because he comes from a little island, and has not seen war. After the Trojan War he is changed, and is desensitized to the rigors of battle. If you read the Odyssey you will see this as more relevant. I believe the author of this story was just trying to bring across the fact that war is a grisly and frightening event that shouldn t be taken lightly.
This was an excellent book, and for being written 3000 years ago it is amazing that it could be so great of a story. Homer did an excellent job of showing what war was like during this time period. I couldn t believe some of the things one human did to another in this story. Like when the river ran red with blood, and was filled with the bodies of fallen soldiers I could not even imagine how there could be that much blood shed. From reading this story I have developed a new perspective on war. It s not just a game or a show it really happens, and people do get killed. Never have I read a book more jolting than this one. I thought this book was great, and it s not another one of those lame ratings you give a book to appease a teacher. No this book was really an excellent story with a great plot, non-stop action, and an excellent ending. From front to back this was an all around good book, which I would gladly have read on my own. My hat goes off to Homer for putting this down on paper and showing us what war was truly like in Greek times, and also for giving me an entertaining book to read.