“The Iliad” is known to be the most famous Greek poems written by a blind poet Homer. The Iliad is dated circa 8th century BC, although now some scholars such as Martin West and Richard Seaford prefer to date it in the 6th-7th century BC. The Iliad” tells about events taking place during the last year of Lion siege (about 10th century BC) or Trojan War. The Iliad belongs to a tradition of Greek oral poetry – epic poem.
It is a long poem telling readers about historical events involving ancient gods, heroic deeds and ancient heroes.
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Since the Iliad is too lengthy, it is loosely organized. What is more interesting is that not every event or episode of the poem is absolutely connected with the main story line. It means that digressions are rather common in the poem. It is possible to notice the difference between epic genre and dramatic genre where all episodes tend to be closely connected with the plot and all digressions are uncommon.
It is a distinguishing feature of The Iliad.
Actually, the poem promotes the ideal sod war-like society. The main theme of the “The Iliad” is glorification of the war. There is an idea that the novel even celebrates war, because all the characters are judged by their competence, bravery and courage in the battles. It seems that the poem supports the war, because such judging extends even to the gods. Iliad proclaims that to fight means to prove honor and bravery.
Furthermore, the poem proclaims that war is predominant over the family life and has to be always on the first place for all men. For example, Achilles is the greatest warrior in the Greek army. Achilles wins eternal glory because he always rejected long, uneventful, calm and comfortable home life. Paris preferred not to fight and therefore he was scorned by his family and beloved woman. Paris is shown to be more subjected to women’s tenderness i.e. love and other feelings being inherent to humans. According to Homer, such qualities aren’t attributes of real hero. Summing up Homer’s hero is strong, courage, brave and always ready to fight and to die. Achilles is an ideal of Greek hero for Homer.
Fitzgerald, Robert (translt.). (1991). The Iliad of Homer. New York, USA: Penguin