Essay on The Impact of Women in The Iliad
579 Words3 Pages
Women have always been recognized for their strong influence on the actions of men. Because of his love for Delia, Samson told his secret of his power and ended up losing it. In Shakespeare's Macbeth, Lady Macbeth urged Macbeth to commit murder. More recently, Eleanor Roosevelt strongly influenced the decisions that Franklin D. Roosevelt made. Women of Homer's epic, The Iliad, were considered primary instigators of the Trojan war. The characteristics attributed to women in ancient Greek mythology may have been key to the outbreak of the war. But many ask why Homer would choose to reflect so deeply on the feminine roles of this war fought by men.
Although the beginning of the war was not spoken of in The Iliad, the origin of…show more content…
The gods called upon Paris to award the prize of beauty. Hera promised him power and riches if he decided in her favor. Athena offered him wisdom and glory in war. Then Aphrodite said she would give him the love of the most beautiful woman in the world. Paris gave Aphrodite the apple, and Hera and Athena became bitter enemies of the Trojans.
Helen, the fairest woman on earth, was already married. Her husband, Menealus, was the king of Sparta. Paris, under Aphrodite's protection, sailed to Sparta, won Helen's love, and carried her off to Troy. Menelaus had to go to battle against Troy to defend his honor and retake Helen as his wife. Thus a combination of Eris's temper; Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite's jealousy; and Helen's beauty caused the war. Typically, Greek mythology, including Homer's epics, note particular "characteristics" of femininity. Although there is very little said about the attractiveness of gods and heroic men, beauty seems to be noted among most myths pertaining to goddesses, women, and other feminine creatures. The Gorgons were noted for being outcasts because of their ugliness. Intelligence is another trait associated with women. Many goddesses devised schemes to help which ever mortal they favored. By handing Achilles the spear, Achilles knows that he is to kill Hector. Magical powers also seem to attributed to femininity in Greek myths. Circe and the Sirens were known for their magic found in The Odyssey were known for their
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Part of what gives the Iliad its deep humanity is its sensitive portrayal of love in a variety of forms. Some of the most touching moments in the poem come between Hektor and his wife Andromache, which reveal not only the love of the spouses for one another, but also their parental love for their child.
Parental love is also important in motivating Priam to ask for the return of the body of Hektor at the end of the book. Sexual love is portrayed as an incredibly powerful force that takes away people's ability to think. This can be seen in Hera's seduction of Zeus.
Perhaps surprisingly for a modern audience, this type of love is sometimes portrayed as a destructive force, as when Helen criticizes the goddess Aphrodite for making her run off with Paris, which caused so many problems.
Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.
In the Iliad, love is often a cause of violence and hatred.
In the Iliad, some kinds of love are seen as fickle, but love within families is not.