Human Is Imperfect Being In The Iliad

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Suggesting that humans are in the middle state, Alexander Pope said “Human is imperfect being, “created half to rise, and half to fall … The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!” in his philosophical poem, An Essay on Man. Both Iliad and Beowulf offer insights into the human society that could apply to today’s world where humans still have to choose between safety and glory sometimes and where individuals’ weakness or emotions can result in conflicts or war that can affect a large number of people. Homer’s Iliad places its focus on the story of its major character Achilles, who is a renowned warrior among Greeks, during the Trojan War. Beowulf highlights the adventure of the main character Beowulf who shows the prototype of masculine qualities…show more content…
Yet they do not enjoy eternal life as God. Achilles, a son of the nymph Thetis and King of the Myrmidons Peleus, is invulnerable in all of his body except his heel. His valor makes him gain reputation as a great warrior among Greeks, During the Trojan War, the morale of Trojans becomes undermined simply by the appearance of Achilles in the battles. Nevertheless, he is skilled by the Trojan prince Paris, who shot an arrow at his heel. Achilles says “Fate is the same for the man who holds back, the same if he fights hard. We are all held in a single honour, the brave with the weaklings. A man dies still if he has done nothing, as one who has done much.” (9.318-320). Similarly, Beowulf, a bold and fearless warrior, gains fame after he defeats formidable monsters. With great pride, Beowulf continues to pursue glory during his life and finally faces his lifetime enemy, a dragon. In this battle, he ends up defeating the dragon but dies. During the Beowulf’s funeral “the Geat people built a pyre for Beowulf, … Then his warriors laid him in the middle of it, mourning a lord far famed and beloved. … the blaze roared and drowned out their weeping, … .”(3137-3148) Both Achilles and Beowulf have superhuman qualities and are exalted by his contemporaries; however, they are bound to their fate, mortality. In other words, as humans they face death, despite their godly…show more content…
All the warriors appear in the Iliad join the battles as they value glory more than their life. Trojan War initially starts by the Trojan prince Paris as he kidnap Helen, the wife of Menelaus, the king of Mycenaean. Since the conflict is actually between Paris and Menelaus, other Greek warriors including Achilles and Odysseus did not need to join the war. Still, the warriors decide to join the allies to secure their pride and kleos. Achilles says “If I hold out here and lay siege to Troy, my journey home is gone, but my glory never dies. If I voyage back to the fatherland I love, my pride, my glory dies…true, but the life that’s left me will be long, the stroke of death will not come on me quickly.”(IX, 500-506) Also young Beowulf faces battle with formidable enemies and risks his life. In order to cease his citizens suffering from the vile enemy, Grendel, Beowulf determines to execute him. "I resolved to fulfill the desire of your people, or suffer the pangs of death, caught fast in Grendel's clutches. Here, in Heorot, I shall either work a deed of great daring, or lay down my life," (ll. 634-8) says Beowulf. As shown by their attitudes toward life-risking-battles, Achilles and Beowulf willingly dare their life to death instead of keeping their own

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