The Illiad is a book by Homer, and its translation is done by Robert Fagles. It is considered to be among the first western literature workss. The book is written using an epic poem that narrates the happenings in the city of Troy during the Trojan War. The main focus is on the war that rosecame about after a disagreement between the warriors of Achilles and King Agamemnon (Fagles, 2004). The book highlights several Greek legends who were involved in the war, each of them having a distinct characteristic of a hero.
The book starts the story when as the Trojan War iwas almost over, and the Greek had kidnapped Chryseis, a daughter to a renowned priest, Chryses. The latter tries to negotiate for the safe return of his daughter by even offering the Greek wealth in return for his daughter. THowever, the Greek King rejected the offer despite several negotiations and persuasions, although and the fact that his army soldiers supported the offerwere for it. In most epic texts, the heroes are given exceptional powers, as is in the case with, Chryses, the priest. His daughter prayed for his help, and in return, Chryses caused a plague that affected the Greek army (Fagles, 2004). Most heroes use their unique powers to save their people in cases where physical power cannot help the situation.
In heroic stories, there is always the theme of homecoming, mostly from the warriors after a war. The theme is exploited in Greek literature, and in The Illiad it is highlighted after the war between the Greek and Agamemnon and his hero, Odysseus. The war had continued gone on for years, and the soldiers had stayed away from home for long. They are welcomed with pomp as a symbol of glory after winning the war, which is the norm in many heroic stories.
The theme of glory is also included in the book by use of several heroic characters in the book. At the beginning, Chryses wins over the Achilles, who had kidnapped her daughter by sending their soldiers a plague. They had negotiated her release with the Greek being adamant at first, but later Chryses got his glory (Fagles, 2004). Odysseus is also glorious after winning the war with Achilles. Achilles was considered the hero in his land, and at a time he said he would better fight till death than live and go home a loser, since he wanted the glory. However, mostly only one hero gains it, whichthe glory that is celebrated by all his people.
For most heroes to triumph, they have it is necessary to win a war that is mostly caused by the wrath of one’s party. Heroic violence is used to save a person or nation because it was almost impossible to settle scores diplomatically in the ancient times. In the book, the theme of wrath is best displayed by Achilles and , as it drives him into war, propelling the story. Some of his key soldiers, Hector and Patroclus, were slain by the Troy army, which further increased his wrath and quest for revenge (Fagles, 2004). Priest Chryses the priest also showed displayed the wrath when the Greek refused his offers to release his daughter, and he sent them the plague.
Most of the heroes in epic books gain recognition through fighting and emerging victorious in a war. As a result, most heroic characters are men, as compared to females, because they are more physically stronger than women. In ancient times, leadership was taken by a man (the king), and his wife (the queen) just had to take care of household activities. Kings emerge the heroes in most epic books because they are in power and in a position to command. Also, only men were allowed to be in the army and go to war, as women watched over the children at home. This It further shows the political nature of heroism, and in The ILliad, King Agamemnon is considered a hero after winning the Greek war. Odysseus, who is also a hero from the book, was close with the royal family, and he was used to pass messages to other kings.