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In the Iliad, analyze the critical similarities or differences between the Trojans and the Achaians - Essay Example

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Much is made of the poetry and plot of this epic, and rightfully so. But beyond the story of Helen and Paris lie fascinating similarities between these two opponents. In many ways, Trojans and the…
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In the Iliad, analyze the critical similarities or differences between the Trojans and the Achaians
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In the Iliad, analyze the critical similarities or differences between the Trojans and the Achaians

Download file to see previous pages... A central theme throughout The Iliad is the recognition by both the Trojans and the Achaians that the gods of Olympus would determine the final outcome of the conflict. This shared belief is shown throughout the story in many different ways. One manifestation of this shared belief in the intercession of deity in the lives of men in The Iliad is through the casting of lots. In essence, this is the same as drawing a name out of a hat to see who wins something. But for the Trojans and the Achaians, it is a means of knowing the will of the gods. When the Achaians needed to know who should fight against Hektor, the lot fell upon Aias. This relieved the Trojans because this was the very person they had been praying would receive the chance to fight Hektor. This shared belief in the intervention of gods in the conflict is also shown in the direct speech between the two warring armies. At the beginning of Hektor’s challenging speech to the Achaians, he expresses his belief that both sides have found ill favor with Zeus. That is why neither side can prevail. The prayer of the Achaians is also telling in this regard. They prayed that their champion, Aias might prevail over Hektor, but only if Zeus loves Aias more than Hektor. They prayed that if Zeus loved them equally, then they wanted each to return from individual battle with equal honor and safety. This, in fact, is what happened in this particular instance.
Another shared cultural feature of the Trojans and the Achaians is the emphasis on honorable actions and bravery. Bravery, bravado and physical prowess are marks of honor and distinction for both societies. In his speech to the Achaians, Nestor upbraids his countrymen for not being willing to challenge Hektor. He states clearly that he would do it himself if he were not so old. He then recounts fights that he won that brought him honor. He makes it clear that none of the assembled Achaians were worthy of such honor because they ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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