The Heroes of the Trojan War

1776 Words8 Pages
Analyse the heroes depicted in the Illiad and how they reflect the role of legend and mythology in Bronze Age society. The heroes of the Trojan War have long been the ideals of ancient Greek mythology and legend, and are also physical representations of qualities valued by Bronze Age Greek society. The epic tradition of poetry and song has enabled many historians to study the Illiad as a source of both historical and cultural information. Achilles, Hector and Odysseus are all immortalised as figures of bravery and excellence in warfare, all endeavouring to achieve the concepts of kleos (‘glory’) and time (‘honour’). The fundamental desire for reputation and social validation of the heroes of the Illiad suggests a great significance placed on cult worship and everlasting fame. Poets help recreate these stories into legends in celebration of the heroes and their nobility in dying without fear. The Illiad’s recognition of the inevitability of death and its omnipresence in everything the heroes attempt to achieve is the core motivation for each of the heroic figures. Ultimately, the klea andrôn, or ‘the glories of these men’ live on through Homer’s epic tale, epitomising the rise and fall of the great heroes of Troy. Homer’s exploration of Achilles’ struggle for eternal glory establishes the main element of the Hero in ancient Greek culture as the immortalisation of his life in song or epic poetry. Kleos, meaning ‘glory, fame, that which is heard’ refers to both the medium and the message, and is one of the driving forces for many of the warriors in the Illiad. For the heroes, and indeed Achilles, they fight not for their Kings or countries, but for the concept of kleos. In order to achieve this, they have to suffer through an ordeal, accomplish great deeds, show excellence in fighting, and ultimately, die in battle. According to Goldhill, “Poetry confers
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