The Concept of Community and the Heroes of Iliad

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Carnegie Mellon University
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The notion of the personal honor is prevalent throughout the Iliad. The community is seen to be important in determining the behavior of hero, and the heroes' honor was paramount in the community. According to the Iliad, Hero was expected to show respect, and thus he could not endure insults but was required to protect his reputation even during the time of death. It is seen that the hero's duty was to fight and protect the community as a way of gaining the glory and furthermore immortality was brought by the heroic action especially on the battlefield. From the book, it is seen that the Homeric heroes were believed to be men who could stand together in the battle and thus those men were required by the community to respect each other in the field and were also required to refrain from the excessive cruelty. The Homeric hero was loathed with the deliberate acts of injustice and cruelty.

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The community was necessary for the Homeric heroes as they were required to live strictly by social and cultural norms which were essential for guiding their personal lives at home and also on the battlefield. The heros understanding of his place in the community was governed by the community roles and defined cultural norms. The hero was required to perform according to the expectations, and the pattern of the hero was also defined during the hero's death or his or her suffering. The hero's expression of himself and choice of words was guided by the community, and he believed his thoughts were also derived from the god of the society who was supposed to be guiding the community. The community also believed that the hero spoke in his great-hearted spirit. For example, in the book I, it is seen that Archaean spoke with one voice and the voice was used for showing respect to the priests. It is seen in a book I that Calchas son of Thestor was the wisest of the augurs and he regularly told King Apollo to first consider swearing and stand by what the community requires them to do. He asks the community to inquire why the Phoebus is angry, and he was not expected by the community to act just like that. Even though a plain man could stand against the King's anger, the King was to respect the opinion of the community members.

Furthermore, the hero was motivated by the support he received from the community. The city accorded him respect they deserve and help. The community members were not required to quarrel some to the King as it was believed that there was no king who was hateful as he respected all the people from the society. Furthermore, the hero was thought to be next to God because he protected the community and he was believed to be fighting for the wellness of the society. Furthermore, the respect accorded to the King was also believed to be respected to the god of the community who was thought to be guided the hero during his actions. Agamemnon the hero is seen obeying what the society requires him to do and vows that he shall fight any man that he comes across for the benefit of the community. He equates the community members as his ship and would like to protect them with all the efforts that he had.

The motivation was also seen through the social responsibility which was essential for maintaining the hero's status. The hero, however, maintains the status through his performance as a hero in combating the battlefield. Furthermore, the star was required to show respect and quickly respond to the social situations and mores as well. Also, the hero had to respect his superiors and also show loyalty to his friends and the family. What is more, the hero was to show no disgrace to himself, his friends, his family and the community. For example, in book IV, it is seen that Patroklos the hero when he forgets the principle of rationality, he fails. He was required by the community not to drive the Trojans back to the city but he goes against the community wishes by going contrary. He allows the pride to overcome his reaction and eventually he is killed on the battlefield. The social and religious believes also guided the heroes in the community. The social rites were important, and all the community facets guided him. The man was entitled to social responsibility by being a warrior, and he could justify that being showing bravery in the battle field. For example, when Menelaus shows a sign of fear towards the warriors who were coming towards them, Alexandra cheers him by showing that they are fighting for the safety of the community and that the community is behind them. Furthermore, the Trojan that they were using in the battle was a sign of the support from the community. For example, it is seen that Achaeans were happy when they heard the Trojans coming to their rescue (Book III).

Moreover, the Homeric culture is also important because it recognizes the rightness of the community's anger towards the heroes. Whenever a hero makes any mistake by going contrary to the community's expectations, he or she would face the wrath of the Community. For instance, Agamemnon is seen stripping Achilles of his war prize after Achilles goes against the community wishes by declining to fight as a front fighter. Agamemnon argues "It is a god who accomplishes all things" and thus "Delusion" entangled Achilles' (Book IV). Achilles becomes furious and wants to kill Agamemnon, but Athena grasps his hair and warns him against killing Agamemnon as going the community wishes astray. This shows that an outside source is necessary for initiating the physical and emotional anger, but they are supposed to be guided by the community principles and wishes. They are not required to follow the outside force, but their personal decision would save them from fighting each other.

In most cases, the community also needed the hero to demonstrate the heroic balance (Book VI). Accordingly, the hero was required to rely majorly on his greatness and also maintain a proper modest before the community Gods. Furthermore, the hero was also required to understand himself and evaluate his position before acting upon a particular situation. Also, he had to live with the shame of his failures and mistakes but still respect and thank the community God for guiding him throughout the battlefield. Thus, if he acted in a wrong way, the society would scorn him.

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