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Pity and Caring in the Iliad - Book Report/Review Example

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The main theme of Homer's Iliad is revenge and war. However, if one would look closely, one could see that care and pity is also shown quite subtly all throughout the story. And aside from hate and vengeance, care and pity is also one big driving force that shaped the tale.
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Pity and Caring in the Iliad
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Download file to see previous pages Hence, the gods interfere either because he pities or cares for the mortals.
In Book 1, when Chryseis was taken by Agamemnon, Chryseis' father prayed to Apollo to help get her back. Apollo then sends a plague upon the Achaean camp and many soldiers died. In Book 22, Athena deceives Hector into facing Achilles. And this lead to Hector's death. Also, the gods continues to support and help their people in battle. Zeus constantly assists the Trojans, Ares fights along side with Hector, Hera and Athena aids the Achaeans. Clearly out of care and maybe pity, gods answer the prayers of their people.
But it is not only their devotees that the gods care about. They also give a great deal of care to their mortal sons. The sons of gods are known to be great warriors as they have great strength and enjoy protection from their parent god.
In Book 16, when Patroclus was about to kill Sarpedon, Zeus considered interfering in order to save Sarpedon. But he was prevented by Hera. As such, Sarpedon was killed by Patroclus. Understandably, Zeus got angry and made Patroclus death possible by giving Hector great power.
Aside from caring for certain mortals, the gods are also capable of pity. When Achilles mourned for the death of Patroclus, he refused to eat until he has avenged Patroclus in Book 19. Zeus pitied him. Zeus sent Athena to fill his hunger. This enabled Achilles to fight successfully.
In my opinion, in the interference of the gods, Homer revealed the importance of care in the story. If Zeus hadn't cared for Sarpedon, Patroclus wouldn't have died soon and Achilles would not have fought again. And if Zeus hadn't pitied Achilles, he wouldn't have been successful in fighting.
The second way that Homer revealed the importance of care and pity is in the ways of mortals. At the beginning of the story, it is Chryses care for his daughter that led him to pray to Apollo. In the middle of the Iliad, it was Achilles' care for Patroclus that led him to fight for Achaean again. Towards the end, it was King Priam's care for his son Hector that led him to beg to Achilles for Hector's body. And it was Achilles' pity towards a father and a king that made him release Hector's body.
In sum, I believe that Homer revealed the importance of care and pity in Iliad thru the interference of gods and thru the nature of human and relationships.
Part II: Do we feel when we come to the end of the poem, that pity and caring do in fact make life "not simply bearable" but actually "worth living"
Toward the end of the epic, we see Achilles' care for his dead friend, we see the Zeus' pity for mourning mortals, we see King Priam' care for his son, and Achilles' pity on a grieving father. In an epic about vengeance and war, all of these are a breath of fresh air.
It makes on realize that gods and mortals are capable of not only hate, but also of pity and care. And this gives us hope. It makes us feel that despite the bad things going on around, there is still good in every individual.
To realize that a strong-willed Achilles, with the death of a close friend, can give up his pride and reconcile with the Achaean army provides hope. It makes us feel that people are capable of forgetting their stubbornness and setting aside their pride to give way for care and affection. Also, when Achilles granted the request of King Priam, it made us realize that a man, even if consumed by vengeance is still ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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