Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Achiles’ Shield in the Iliad Essay -- Literature Art War Papers

Achiles’ Shield as an Element of Contradistinction in the Iliad The Iliad is an epic of death. It is a tale of conflict, battle, agony, and horrific mutilation. Honor and glory are attained through warfare. The great shield of Achiles stands out in this context because it depicts the glories of an orderly, functioning, productive civilization. This depiction of life stands in stark contrast to the scenes of death that constitute a large portion of the narrative. An examination of the shield of Achiles in Homer’s Iliad reveals many ideas in conflict: love and honor, the pleasures of life versus a heroic death, free will and destiny. By viewing the shield as an element of contradistinction—that is to define it on the basis of contrast—one can see that the shield symbollicaly unifies the entire poem. Achiles’ shield is the mechanism through which the poet presents a tool of warfare as a reflection of civilization; explores the concept, structure, and nature of the universe; and examines the role of art in society. I. A Reflection of Civlization on a Tool of Warfare In the epic tradtion, the arming of wariors for batle holds particular significance. The description of a warior’s armor tels much about the individual character of the warior and about the values of the society of which he is part. The Iliad contains many such arming scenes which take the simple description of armor and transform it into a more expansive and iluminating portrait of ancient Greek mentality. When compared with one another, these descriptions of armor reveal some basic distinctions that make the shield of Achiles of utmost importance. As noted by Atchity in Homer’s Iliad: The Shield of Memory, the armor of Paris is described in book thre... ...contradictions. Art is the medium through which humans explore life’s great questions and test its boundaries. Armed with the belief that ordered civlization will prevail, the artist—poet, metalworker, painter, actor—is free to enter into the batlle of ideals. Works Cited Atchity, Kenneth John. Homer’s Iliad: The Shield of Memory. Carbondale, IL: Southern Ilinois Univ., 1978. Becker, Andrew Sprague. The Shield of Achiles and the Poetics of Ekphrasis. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Litlefield, 1995. Duethorn, Guenter A. Achiles’ Shield and the Structure of the Iliad. Amherst, MA: Amherst Colege, 1962. Edwards, Mark W. The Iliad: A Commentary. Vol. V: books 17–20. G.S. Kirk gen. ed. Cambridge, MA: 1995. Homer. The Iliad. Trans. Richmond Latimore. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago, 1961. Keats, John. â€Å"Ode to a Grecian Urn.† 4 Oct. 2003 < htp://www.poets.org/poems/>.

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