What themes/motifs from The Iliad are similar to the themes of a current movie, book, or event? Such as the glory of war, or choosing war over family.
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The Trojan and Achaean societies can't really be said to have "chosen war over family" any more than a doctor or teacher can be said to have chosen medicine or teaching over family. In antiquity, that's what noble warriors did--they fought, conquered (or were conquered), took treasure, trophies, and prizes. They built palaces and protected their sons with unmarred flesh from going to war when they were still too young. That having been said, a movie built around the theme of sacrificing family for the glory of war in the world of London finance--a theme akin to the one you suggest of choosing war over family--is A Good Year with Russell Crowe (Ridley Scott, 2006). It is amusingly witty and ironic as the hero learns to choose love over wealth--not that he isn't rolling in wealth already.
One theme -- the theme of seemingly endless war -- might be relevant to America's conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in the "war on terror" in general. Unfortunately, there really does seem to be no easy way of resolving or ending the latter conflict, in particular. Victories are only likely to be temporary, and yet there seems to be no way to avoid participating in this conflict.
I wonder whether we can find an ironic parallel with this text and The Red Badge of Courage, in which the protagonist starts off thinking only of the glory that he can gain in war but moves on to a very different understanding of warfare and of glory. I think our society has changed so much and that this means that finding a text which has a similar understanding or depiction of war as being something glorious and wonderful is going to be rather difficult.
This is an interesting question. There are many themes in the Iliad. Let me name a few and show how they might relate to something current.
The Iliad has several main themes. Perhaps the dominant theme is the pursuit of glory (in Greek - kleos). For example, Achilles had the choice of a long life or an early death but one filled with glory. He choose the second option and went to Troy. Glory, that is, to be recognized by your peers, is central. Another theme of the Iliad is courage. Hector's wife, Andromache does not want him to fight Achilles, but she cannot deter him. Hector must fight Achilles. The code of honor and courage must lead to a showdown between the two men.
If we look at our world, the first theme is played out everywhere. Think of what is happening among bankers on Wall Street. They take great risks for glory (not necessarily money). These bankers have more money than they can possibly spend. Why do they work so hard? They want recognition from their peers. They are hungry for glory. Jamie Diamond of Chase is a perfect example. We can see the same dynamic in sports. Athletes drives themselves to win glory. This pursuit is intense and very much a part of our world.
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