Honor In The Iliad

611 Words3 Pages
Killing Honor or Honor Killings? In the Iliad, Homer successfully introduces Achilles’ soldiers, the Myrmidons as “wolves that rend and bolt raw flesh”. These warriors distinguish themselves from the other soldiers on the battlefield by “gorg[ing] on the kill”. Despite the Myrmidons fighting for the Achaeans, Homer characterizes them as their own breed of warriors. They are unlike either sides of the war; the Achaeans and Trojans. The Myrmidons do not simply continue on to the next target after killing. The Myrmidons embody everything that is wild in The Iliad. Their presentation in Homer’s text shows an intricate crossing of savage and civilized fighting. The Myrmidons are associated with the wild and barbaric nature of wolves: the way they eat their prey and continuously “swarm” around the battlefield. At the same time, however, their fighting effectively conveys the feeling of relentless glory to the reader. Homer, who has the…show more content…
In previous books, there has always been a time set aside to clear the battlefield of the dead; a code of honor among the two sides. The question of what honor means comes into play as the Myrmidons “belch bloody meat” and their “fury, [is] never shaken”. The wolves do not care about their prey, or in this case other soldiers. The Myrmidons do not care about what happens to their opponent’s bodies, so there is no need to show honor among men by preserving their body. On the other hand, because of the unusual nature of the Myrmidons, the way they “gorge on the kill” is also the way they show honor among themselves. Wolves prove honor to their group of wolves by killing and eating their prey. The more they kill, the more honor they bring to their “swarming” pack, or in this case, to Achilles. This comparison shows the strength of the warriors, their relentlessness, and their determination to survive, which, in the case of this war is through killing

More about Honor In The Iliad

Open Document