Week 3 Illiad

1.What are differences and similarities between Achilles’s relationship with his fellow Achaeans and Hector’s relationship with his fellow Trojans? Outline not only how these two warriors relate to those around them but to each other.

Achilles and Hector are similar to each other in skill level. They are both the best warriors of their time, but what makes these two legends different is the reasons for which they fight. Achilles fights for bragging rights and would rather let fellow companions die so that he can be a hero. Achilles was a one man team. Hector fought for his wife and kids and was in my opinion more honorable than Achilles, but unfortunately Hector made many costly decisions in battle that would cause many of his warriors to fall. Both Achilles and Hector were great warriors but awful leaders.

2. The excerpt from Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried gives context for those of you who have not been in battle. It speaks to the breaking down of all known boundaries, such as good and evil, that occurs in war. Achilles breaks the Greek standard and religious observance of respect for the dead by dragging Hector’s body around. Even though Hector is his enemy, his acts would have been seen by a B.C. Greek soldier as sacrilege. What is it that brings Achilles back to balance after his berserk episode, and what significance can this transformation have, what does it communicate?

When Hectors father King Priam sought out Achilles after Hectors fall. King Priam prayed to let him bury his son, and when King Priam asked Achilles to think about his father something snaps Achilles back to reality and he lets Priam give his son a burial. This transformation in Achilles communicates that Achilles is becoming less self absorbed and that forgiveness can happen even under the most harsh conditions

3. Achilles spends the first 18 books of the epic Refusing the Call. He even refuses the Embassy’s offer, a scene in which he proclaims an interest in a domestic life. This proclamation is interesting when compared to the circumstances of Hector in Book 22 when, as we he waits for Achilles to arrive for the final battle he knows he will ever fight, his father Priam and his mother Hecuba call to him from the gates of Troy. This scenes speaks to the inner-tug these warriors feel between two distinct codes of behavior: 1. The Warrior Code and 2. The Familial Code. The first code is dependent upon Honor and and Victory; the second on responsibility for offspring and spouse. Are these two codes mutually exclusive? Why or why not?

I feel that someone cannot be fully committed to both codes at the same time. One can only be exclusive to one of the codes. However I do think that in different times of someones life they can switch which code they are committed to. A young soldier can commit himself to the Warrior Code until he has served his time and is ready to start a family, and then commit to the Familial Code. That same soldier cannot be committed to both codes without neglecting one or the other, if that soldier is off fighting a war than his children and wife are being neglected as he is no longer around, and if that soldier is with his family then he is not fighting in the heat of battle for the war. There is no full commitment to both Codes.

2 thoughts on “Week 3 Illiad

  1. sdpost

    I thought that the excerpt we read in regards to the second discussion question gave a lot of insight into the episode that accompanied Hector’s death and Achilles episode of absolute horrible behavior. It’s really relevant too when it comes to lots of depictions of wartime or post war behavior by those who have had to participate in battle and sort of offers this compassionate space to hold for soldiers. Just throwing that out there in addition to your answer for that one.

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  2. jwmaring

    Regarding point number three, I believe you are right on the money as far as making a choice between one code or the other. There simply is no way that a warrior can be committed to both at the same time. And if one is preoccupied with doing what is right for the family, you can hardly call him a warrior on the battlefield. If you need supporting evidence, all you need to do is look at the divorce rate for Army Soldiers, Marines, and Special Forces Operators. Good job.

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