Is Homer's " Iliad" relevant today and why?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Iliad, like all great works of art, is of continued relevance because it deals with universal themes. The characters in the poem may have, what seem to us, strange names; their codes of honor and social conventions are completely alien to ours; and their belief in a pantheon of gods constantly intervening on behalf of mortals is something many of us find hard to accept. Nonetheless, if we strip away all the extrinsic detail, we are left with recognizably human concerns that still speak to us today.

The twenty-first century is considerably more brutal and mired in conflict than the Homeric...

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gbeatty eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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agarner | Student

The Iliad is extreamly relevant to our time. There are many, but perhaps the greatest connection lies in the motive for the inevitable war that ensues. The "petty" factor must not be over looked. You have the various characters pride playing a huge role in the choices, direction and outcome of the war. Take Achilles and Agamemnon's opening quarrel for starters. Essentially that argument is over nothing more than "who is the bigger, man". It is bullies at their best. Yet all it took was one going too far with the name calling and slander to go to the point of no return. Even when great men, in some cases wiser men, were advising against the verbal sparing. Another example of this wounding pride is Hector's need to stay and fight Achilles even though he knows he will not win. He is too ashamed to go back to Troy and admit that he should have retreated after Patroclus was slained and not have let it come to this. Patroclus himself chose to fight in a war he was not ready for because he was angered by Achilles arrogance. The moments are many in this epic poem. Botton line; the suffering of many Achaeans and Trojans occured because of the choices of men thought to be better, braver, wiser, and above pride, and greed. Is this not the cry of the American people at a time when their economy and well being is placed in the hands of greedy, arrogant,a nd prideful politicians?

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