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The Iliad and the Odyssey, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 483

Essay

Making Comparisons of the Homeric Epic: the Iliad and the Odyssey

Why was there a serious armed conflict (war) between the Trojans and the Greeks? Though several reasons have been put forward by scholars as the motivations for the two sides to have waged the Trojan War for ten years: two of the reasons include (1) that the Trojans wanted to prove to the Greeks that they were powerful and could achieve whatever they decided to do, including freeing their priest’s daughter, Chryseis, who was held captive by Agamemnon, the Greek leader; (2) that the Greeks wanted to show the Trojans that they are more advanced at warfare.

The Iliad and Odyssey reveals the culture of battles and endless inter-state conflicts that characterized the Ancient Greek Civilization as leaders sought to pressure their opponents into submission through their military strength. It was during this era that Homer set his epic, which contains controversial characters like Achilles, a warrior; Agamemnon, a belligerent Greek leader; Odysseus, a strong Greek Commander and the King of Ithaca; And on the side of the Trojan, there is Hector, the prominent Trojan warrior; Polydamas, a careful commander of the Trojan Army; Priam, the old King of Troy; Homer’s epic reveals how some of these characters have let their personal emotion or passion affect their judgment; it also shows how some of the characters have resorted to reason to make important decisions about their actions.

Achilles first of all shows his anger to Agamemnon for his refusal to let go the daughter of the Trojan priest’s daughter and his desire to take Achilles’ captive, Briseis, as his own. Achilles angrily caused a plague in Greece to demonstrate how important he is in the country. Agamemnon rallies up warriors to mount a siege against Troy, the city of the Trojans. Hector mobilizes warriors to rout the siege of the Greeks, as indicated in the quote below:

Now Neptune join’d the Greeks, while fierce as fire,

                  Or whirlwind blast, resistless in its ire,

                  Troy’s furious sons, and all their leagued forces

                  Rush’d with mad shouts, where Hector led their course: (Homer, et al. 5).

This armed conflict has led to the deaths of many warriors on both sides, including Hector himself. On the other hand, Odysseus is more calm and peaceful as he intervenes to solve the disagreement between Achilles and Agamemnon; Odysseus also fights against erring Greek warriors to encourage them to submit to the leadership of Agamemnon in the Old Greece.

I believe that Agamemnon’s irrational greediness led to the ceaseless killings in this epic; and Odysseus does his best to resolve the issue, save for the uncontrollable anger of Achilles which makes him lose his respect and relevance in the history of Greece, as his strong passion for revenge caused by anger makes him become worthless and without respect.

Works Cited

Homer, William Sotheby, and John Flaxman. The Iliad and Odyssey, Volume 2. London: John Murray, 1834.

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