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Virtue - Essay Example

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Virtue Virtue is a very complex concept embraced in different cultures around the world even though they all have different interpretations of the notion. Generally related to an expression of moral standards and the common good, virtue has also been linked to other systems in various historical, philosophical and literary perspectives…
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Download file to see previous pages However, the systems of virtue I most identify with in Iliad are the heroism that foregrounds the warriors’ courage and strong determination to fight the enemy and restore order and justice in their territories. Moreover, this system of virtue is also found in Beowulf and Jeffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. This critic elaborates on the issue of virtue: “Aristotle’s picture of a virtuous person is one who does the right action resulting from his own inclination; if one’s inclination is pushing in the direction opposite that of doing the right thing, it would be a sign of lacking moral virtue or the presence of weakness of will” (Yan). Aristotle’s focus on the willingness to do good actions demonstrates that this aspect represents an important part of virtue that is also based on moral standards. Homer’s Iliad portrays throughout the whole poem different forms of virtues that reflect the cultural realities of the Greek. However, the virtue I most identify with in the text represents the warriors’ courage and strong determination to fight in order to defend their nation despite the difficult conditions they face. Their high understanding of their duty and the sacrifices they make while facing ferocious enemies, hostile environment and weather and even sometimes angry gods explain their virtuous nature. This critic observes: “The warriors in the Iliad display a kind of morality, despite its dissimilarities to some modern notions of morality. Their behaviour is guided by the heroic code of glory and shame. Simplistically stated, a warrior’s worth is defined by his ability to fight in battle, in which victory brings fame and glory and defeat brings dishonour and shame” (Yan). Indeed, heroism constitutes a true virtue in the Greek society which Homer successfully depicts in the poem as both Trojans and Achaeans fight for their honor. This statement exposes Achilles’ talent as a soldier and the fate he reserves his enemies: “Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures, for so were the counsels of Jove fulfilled from the day on which the son of Atreus, king of men, and great Achilles, first fell out with one another” (Homer 1). This recognition of his skills as a warrior reflects a deep understanding of his duty and a strong determination to win and overcome his enemies. Besides, another example of heroism depicted in Iliad constitutes Achilles’ decision to resume war after the brutal killing of his friend Patroclus. Even though Achilles has a deep understanding of his duty, the argument he had with Agamemnon led him to stop fighting in order to express his anger and disagreement. However, his warrior spirit takes over any frustration he had when he lost his friend. He, therefore, regains immediately his fierceness and determination to exterminate the Trojan army. This new motivation led to the killing of many of his opponents including, the brave Hector. The narrator describes: “Achilles came up to him as it were Mars himself, plumed lord of battle. From his right shoulder he brandished his terrible spear of Pelian ash, and the bronze gleamed around him like flashing fire or the rays of the rising sun. Fear fell upon Hector as he beheld him, and he dared not stay longer where he ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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