The Relationship Between Men And Women In The Iliad
“If it is true that brilliant Achilles is risen beside their ships, then the worse for him if he tries it, since I for my part will not run from him out of the sorrowful battle, but rather stand fast, to see if he wins the great glory, or if I can win it” says Hektor in Homer’s in The Iliad. Pride is spread out in the entire story of the Iliad which is caused by male warriors and the way they feel about their women. Women are seen in the Iliad as objects and also as manipulators of men; they care more about what is going on and suffer from loss while men are warriors who only care about their pride and honor.
The Iliad is clearly describing how women are treated by men. To illustrate, Helen and Briseis were bet on as if they were objects in an auction. A woman’s role is to be complimenting the man’s greatest feats and they are often treated as objects. “Still I am willing to give her back, if such is the best way. I myself desire that my people be safe, not perish. Find me then some prize that shall be my own, lest I only among the Argives go without, since that were unfitting.” Says Agamemnon (1.116-119) Agamemnon lost Chrysies and took Briseis, Achilles war prize. Both of them were traded off like objects. Women are used as objects and not as human beings. Women look inferior to men when they are given away as prizes. Also, they were given to gods or married to gods or family members, such as Helen was married to Menelaus without any choice, chosen by his men to be married to him. Helen was taken by Paris; it then caused the Trojan War. It was not out of free will. Women in Greek culture are typically treated differently from men because men are the warriors who protect and fight for their cities. Also the cities were dominated by males who created these wars between them and their war prizes were the women. Although women are human beings, in the Iliad they are viewed as trophies and prizes which gives men honor after going into war.
Women in The Iliad are also manipulators of men. Women are viewed as sexual manipulators. They act deviously to men to get what they want. They do this by having sex with them or doing some outrageous acts. ”Hera, there will be a time afterwards when you can go there as well. But now let us go to bed and turn to love-making. For never before has love for any goddess or woman so melted about the heart inside me, broken it to submission, as now. ‘ says Zeus (14.313-317) The goddess Hera seduces her husband, Zeus, in an effort to get the Trojan War to go in her favor. Hera seduces Zeus and drugs him into a deep sleep so that she can go and interfere in the Trojan war and make more Trojans die.
The relationship of men and women is that men care only for their pride while women care for one another. They have feelings as it is shown with Briseis conversation with Achilles after the death of Patroklos; she is heartbroken and very sorry Patroklos died. Achilles is also having a bad time dealing with his friend’s death, but in his grief he fell into despair and rage. Achilles only wants revenge for Patroklos’ death by killing Hektor. Also women are the source of conflict between parties as it is seen within the Trojan and the Achaeans, specifically with Paris and Menelaus, Agamemnon and Achilles. Fighting over the most beautiful women in the world was what started the Trojan war and ended up taking the lives of thousands of soldiers.
“Hektor, you are too intractable to listen to reason. Because the god has granted you the actions of warfare therefore you wish in counsel also to be wise beyond others. But you cannot choose to have all gifts given to you together. To one man the god has granted the actions of warfare, to one to be a dancer, to another the lyre and the singing, and in the breast of another Zeus of the wide brows establishes wisdom, a lordly thing, and many take profit beside him and he saves many, but the man’s own thought surpasses all others.” Says Poulydamas (13.726-734)
Men only care for pride and honor; it is the motivation that gives the warriors the will to fight with all their might and save lives of others. Pride also pushes them closer to their demise such as when Hector doesn’t listen to Poulydamas’ advice which then leads to his death. Hektor thinks that because they had already accomplished so much, why would he turn back; it is all because of his pride and honor he didn’t fall back.
The book revolves around the lust for women and what ended up as a result of men’s pride and honor. Also the tragic death of Patroklos and Hektor which resulted in more grief and despair for both Trojans and Archean. Women are belittled by men which results in women being used for only their body and in order to satisfy men’s lust. It destroys the culture and families like when Paris destroyed Menelaus’ family.
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