It has often been remarked that the Iliad is a poem primarily about kleos, while the Odyssey is concerned with nostos. This is partly true. Homecoming is clearly the subject of the Odyssey, though Odysseus is as concerned with kleos as any Greek hero and sometimes endangers himself and his men for the sake of it, as when he calls out his name to Polyphemus when fleeing from the land of the Cyclopes.
In the Iliad, much of the poignancy is derived from the fact that so many of the Greek heroes will never return home again. The Trojans will very soon have no home. Even the homecoming of the victorious Agamemnon will be as far as possible from the traditional nostos, since he will be murdered almost immediately. The Greek heroes have given up (and the Trojan heroes have been forced to give up) the simple delights of home for the chance to win glory.
The theme of kleos is the primary reason why the quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles that dominates the beginning of the Iliad is so bitter, at least from...
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