Iliad Research Paper

940 Words4 Pages
An essential component of the Iliad is the presence of wild and domestic animals. The most prominent animals presented include horses, lions, wild boars, various birds and insects amongst other creatures. Every time the Trojans are addressed as a whole, they are described as “the breaker of horses”, a central aspect of life in Troy. Both the Trojans and Greeks are paralleled to animals through similes whether in battle scenes or during instances of armistice. The similes act as additions to the poem that juxtapose the scenes of Troy with customary aspects of domestic life with animals. The major character flaw, or Achilleus heel, of both mortals and animals stems from their great strength, passion, or courage, which ultimately threaten to destroy…show more content…
These features are the defining characteristics of a mortal and the root of an animal’s ferocity. In Book 13, as the Greek Idomeneus prepares to fight Aeneas, Homer displays his valor by writing, “no fear gripped Idomeneus...he stood his ground like a mountain wild boar who in the confidence of his strength stands up to a great rabble of men advancing upon him” (13.469-473). These traits imply a man or animals willingness to risk their own life in battle. In Book 21, the Trojan Agenor, with guidance of Apollo, fights Achilleus while the rest of the Trojans return to the city. As he waited for Achilleus “his heart was urgent for the encounter of battle. But as a leopard emerges out of her timbered cover to face the man who is hunting her, and takes no terror in her heart nor thought of flight…she will not give up her fighting fury, till she has closed with one of them or is overthrown” (21.571-578). This heroic nature and the pursuit of glory lead inevitably towards death, which explains why both mortals and animals are willing to court death in the exercise of valor. There is no escape from death, so it is better to seek glory that shy away from the conflict at…show more content…
Bulls tend to be the targets of these similes, especially at the offense of lions. In Book 16, Patroklos gets the best of the Trojan Sarpedon, and when Sarpedon falls it describes him “as a blazing or haughty bull in a huddle of shambling cattle when a lion has come among the herd and destroys him (16.487). The bull is not match for the lion, the same way many of the Greek soldiers overpower lesser Trojans. Another example occurs in Book 17 when Menelaos protects the body of Patroklos similar to a mother cow looking after her first calf; “bestrode the body, as over a first-born calf the mother cow stands lowing, she who has known no children before this” (17.4-5). The simile illustrates shows that even the great warrior can appear helpless in an unfamiliar setting. Shortly after, a similar comparison is made to Aias, but perceives him as a mighty lion watching after her

More about Iliad Research Paper

Open Document