“The Iliad” by Homer
A Greek epic poem The Iliad is one of the oldest, most prominent and greatest works of world literature. It concentrates on the behavior of warriors in crisis time and investigates obligations which people have to themselves and the community. The task of the given paper is to differentiate the values in The Iliad with those that people hold today, to reveal to what extent dignity, pride, honor, glory, fame, and revenge are still important and how people achieve them today.
The Homer’s Iliad is based on the Trojan cycle of myths and describes a ten-year war between the defenders of the city of Troy (or Ilium) and Greeks. Firstly the events take place on Olympus, and then they move on to the ground. The Iliad itself covers only one episode of the tenth year of the war at Troy which lasted 53 days and was the anger of the most powerful Achaean forces hero, Achilles.
For a better understanding of ancient Greek literature and explaining the origin of the world in the masterpieces of this country, it is necessary to learn about the features of the mentality of the ancient Greeks. It is difficult to mention other nations in history which in such a short period of time would have given the world so many great examples of perfect beauty and was so fascinated by the ideas of virtue and freedom, as the ancient Greeks. The life of ancient Greece was not easy. But the Greeks were one of the most lively and cheerful people. It was a nation of workers and fighters that nurtured the ideas of patriotism and revealed models of civic virtue. It was a nation of wise men, who thought about the structure of the universe and pondered about what matter and spirit, space and time, good and evil were.
The Iliad is a work that describes the Greeks, their lives, and values. After reading the poem, it can be said that spiritual values are more important than material ones. These principles provide an image of the ideal man. People must be active, in love with life, obsessed by a thirst for knowledge and creativity, ready to make decisions and take responsibility for their actions. Happiness was the highest sense of life on Earth. In the first place, it was not about gaining the glory of a warrior, but sensual pleasure and service to the gods.
When comparing ancient Greek values to those that exist nowadays, modern people prefer material goods. Most of them do not worry about spirituality. They think of themselves, money, and power. So over the years, human values have changed.
The ancient art nurtured heroes within free citizens. It was the force that united people and made them alike. The Greeks believed that democracy could exist if the citizens had such important qualities as justice, temperance, courage, and wisdom. A person, deprived of these features, cannot be useful to the state. They considered that ambition, hypocrisy, and laziness were vices and the main enemies of democracy. Love for work was human dignity. A harmonious combination of the spiritual and physical beauty of the body was to be ideal. The ability to possess your body and spirit was what made humans similar to gods as well as the Greek gods themselves who were similar to the Greeks with their restlessness and activity.
The worldview of the ancient Greeks was reflected in The Iliad. The main thing for them was serving the interests of the people. Personal interests simply could not exist. The Greeks believed that if the gods could implement everything at once, then people could not change anything.
Back in the ancient times, such a saying was popular: “Everyone can take from Homer as much as he or she is able to take.” Famous Greek philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, reminded that to bring up young people well; you should inculcate them love to Homer. Both young and older people read The Iliad with its dramatic and profound worldly wisdom.
The impact of this poem is enormous. Being such an unsurpassed expression of the Greek worldview, it inspired poets of the archaic period. Due to craftsmanship and real interest in people’s lives, it became a model for tragedians and development of an Attic drama. As an essential part of education in the Greek city-states, the poem established a canon of humanistic ideals and religious beliefs that were a unifying force in the colorful world of the Greek policies. Even when the view of Homeric ideas of gods became incompatible with philosophical thought and secular materialism, in our time Homer’s characters continue to command respect and remain the subject of inheritance for the future generations.
The Iliad describes a constant conflict between two groups of people: the Achaeans and the Trojans. The today’s world suffers from the same problems as they were back then. There are many ignorant people in the modern world, and they bring awfulness and fear to the other people. There are wars between neighboring countries all the time as described in The Iliad. People today cannot live in peace and harmony.
Nevertheless, people then and now have been trying to change themselves and to make the world around them a bit better. There have always been people positive and negative views, but despite this, such personal traits as dignity, pride, honor, glory, fame, and revenge are still important.
In conclusion, The Iliad, and the most prominent Greek epic poem, was studied with the aim of revealing what values were important at that time and which among them have remained relevant to the present day. It was disclosed that event though much time has passed since then, people have not changed quite much.