Heroic Code

Topics: Trojan War, Iliad, Achilles Pages: 4 (1249 words) Published: October 7, 2008
The characters in Homer’s Iliad follow the Heroic Code which is all about honor. For them, honor is the most important thing and a person who dies without honor is worth nothing. To be someone honorable, one must standout from the army, like Akhilleus and Hektor. The two are recognized as the best in their army and community. But the Heroic Code is more than just exerting more effort as a warrior, more than being the best warrior there is and more than doing something that the army, community and opposition will recognize. In the heroic Code, there exist four pillars that will dictate whether you have achieved honor. The first is "always to be the best and bravest and to be distinguished above others."The second aspect of the code is the most direct and immediate in its relation to battle: 'to stand fast firmly'. The third pillar of the code is "to be a speaker of words and a doer of deeds."The final aspect of the code has only a fleeting mention in the Iliad, but rises to center stage in the Odyssey: the concept of "helping one's friends, while harming one's enemies." (http://faculty.valenciacc.edu/eshaw/iliad.htm)

For some of the characters in the Iliad, nothing is worth fighting for if there was no honor to be achieved; if there was no Heroic Code. Though the Heroic Code was greatly followed in Homer’s time, honor nowadays, is a rare thing to see. One character that exemplifies the Heroic Code is Akhilleus. He values honor too much that he refuses to fight for the High-King, Agamemnon, a person who Akhilleus has said had no honor at all since all he does is order people to fight, does not stand in the front lines of battle and is only High-King because he brought the most ships, not because of doing anything that may make him worthy of being called High-King (Iliad, book 2). “What a poltroon, how lily-livered I should be called, if I knuckled under to all you do or say! Give you commands to someone else, not me...” (Iliad, book 1, lines 345-347)...
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