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Homer and the Futility of War

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  1. Introduction
  2. Ways to divide various Anti war fiction
  3. The traditional cut endings
  4. The destruction of the great city
  5. Evidence of Homer's detraction of war
  6. The question of the dates of the Iliad
  7. Conclusion

Rage. Rage is the first word that starts the Iliad (1.1), and as beginnings go it is a substantial foundation for the story told, however leaving the question ?Which Rage??. The rage of Achilles at the death of Patrokles, the rage of Menelaus at the theft of Helen, these are the conventional, simple answers. There is, however, one more place that this rage can be found; namely, the rage had for the absurdity and futility of war. There are those that disagree, but there is much evidence to be found supporting the theory of Homers' disdain for war, mainly in the Iliad, but also other Greek and Homeric sources.

[...] The destruction of that great city is also an example of Homer describing the futility of war, just as Coppola did with the destruction of Kurtz' tribe. Troy is destroyed utterly ( 14.282 Odyssey) but also unconventionally, with the trick of the Trojan horse. Through the culture of present era, this clever trick is held as brilliant and heroic, but here is where the first difference in our culture and ancient culture appears. Strategies, trick maneuvers and ambushes were all looked on with disdain as vehemently dishonorable acts. [...]


[...] Nearly every single major character shown to glorify war and death speaks out against the Trojan assault or other forms of war at points during the epic cycle, some even multiple times just during the Iliad itself. Whether these heroes are showing these feelings out of empathy or self-pity, or even mutual humanity, all of their words are coming not just from their character but must be seen also as ultimately coming from Homer himself. Menelaus was the cause for war, if not its entirety than at least he was the spark for action against the wealthy city of Troy. [...]

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