Free Iliad Essay Sample
The society of Achilles and his fellow Greeks appears to be extremely hostile and dictated by act of vendetta. This is a society that is dedicated to warriors whom they consider as hero and becomes extremely emotional when one of the main heroes, like Patroclus, is killed in battle. The death in this society does evoke grief, but the element that is more evident in this reaction is the issue of revenge rather than sadness. This thirst for revenge is the symbol of a hero in the society of Achilles and his fellow Greeks.
Moreover, while in revenge this society tends to forget the fact that Patroclus was killed in even battle that was considered to be fair in the epic tradition. But the act of revenge by Achilles exceeded all decency and decorum of war. He promised "to drag in Hector,/then give him to the dogs to eat up raw,/and cut the throats of twelve young Trojans,/splendid children, on your funeral pyre,/in my rage that you've been slaughtered." This is beyond any expectation from a great warrior like Achilles and his fellow Greeks supported this act.
In sharp contrast, the society of Troy appears to be peace loving and artistically inclined. Here the idea of heroism is in self defense and honor of the race. The chaos caused by Paris is the chief cause of the war but they are not a society to disown him and they appear to fight for him and to fight for their own honor as a race.
On the other hand, Achilles and his fellow Greeks appear to behave rudely with each other as if though they are in great rage. Relation among themselves was the relation of winners and losers. Achilles' offer to Argives' men was "these prizes lie set out here for a contest" where simple verbal request would have done the work. This is synonymous to the attitude Achilles and his fellow Greeks showed about the fighting at Troy and their hope to achieve. It is clear that winning was everything for them and this win should come at the price of complete slaughter, humiliation and ignominy to the Trojans, so much so to the extent of extermination. But for the Trojans it was plain and simple a war for their survival.
Thus, it is clear that the personal qualities that the Trojans valued were love, brotherhood and peace whereas the Greeks preferred valor, camaraderie and physical ability in battle. This to an extent is the norms of a hero in our present society but the present society asks for more out of a hero and that is the personal qualities that the Trojans valued. Thus, the present society is a combination of the Greek and the Trojan society and our perception of a hero is the amalgamation of the concept of hero in these two opposing societies of the epic era.