However, because of Gilgamesh's thought that he may be invincible, he is actually putting his friend's life at risk by going on his adventure. In his attempt to prove that he is brave and that he would rather die for a cause, he actually indirectly causes the death of Enkidu, who shows that he was the stronger of the two.
5) Defining Honor
Honor is a characteristic that few individuals posses. It is a special type of distinguishing factor, that although many attempt to have, very few actually embrace it to its full meaning. Honor entails pride and personal excellence. It is fully believing in an action or an entity that represents something very important to the self and to those around. To me, honor is being able to stand up for your beliefs despite the opinion of others.
Honor in society can actually be viewed in two ways, depending on your perspective. A great example of the divide between how honor is viewed can be with war. Some members of society see an individual that goes to war as being honorable because they are ultimately making a sacrifice. They are putting their the respect, dignity, and pride that they feel for their country above all else, even their own lives. However, an individual can be viewed as honorable if they choose to stick to what they firmly believe. Someone who is against the violence and/or against the cause of a certain war may choose to not partake in any sort of those activities, and it takes bravery and honor to choose what is against society. That is a different form of bravery that can be viewed as honor as well.
As aforementioned, two different views on honor can be both beneficial and detrimental to society. Individuals who view an honorable action as something personal, may in fact be a harm to others. There are certain religious actions that may be seen as being a last act of honor that will bring them closer to a personal accomplishment and respect from their community, but may in fact be a harmful to others, as is the case with many suicide bombers. Aside from certain extreme cases though, honor is overall viewed in a positive light by society. To have enough dedication and enough pride in something that one is willing to sacrifice all, makes honor something that many strive to attain.
Somewhat unlike Homer's depiction of what he thinks honor out to be, honor should be something that is personal. It is the ability to stand up and fight for what one believes in and to stand by that belief despite other people's opinions, but that is not necessarily what Homer thinks about honor. He believes that honor should be something that is earned, some sort of respect from other individuals. Honor is being able to die for a larger cause. Honor to him is having approval for certain actions. In today's society, that view of honor does not really exist to its fullest. Honor is viewed as something that is kept in order to preserve self-satisfaction, not necessarily to not be viewed as a coward by others. This is a clear demonstration about the change in time and society.
Honor is something that is very contingent on the individual. It represents something different to all those who think of this feature. It is a very personal thought and a very personal action. As previously mentioned, the definition and representation of honor depends greatly on the person, but in the end, standing up and fighting for what one believes most in, is the ultimate characteristic of honor.
6) Responding to Literature
From the beginning, Hector is doomed by fate. Although he is fighting for a cause that he thoroughly believes in, he kills Achilles's close friend, Patroklos. This would prove to be a fatal mistake for him. He believes so much in what he is doing that by committing this play. He has now won Achilles as an enemy, one that will do nothing until he avenges his death for this fellow friend. He is determines to kill Hector. Fate also comes into play when Hector, plagued by the fear of being killed by Achilles joins in comradery with an individual that he finds on the street in order to come together to kill Achilles. Upon making this decision, he does not realize that he is already doomed to die, for the person with whom he makes a deal to kill Achilles with, is in fact Athena in disguise. This brings him in direct combat with Achilles. Lastly, Hector's death is the ultimate example of this doomed fate. Hector stole Patroklos's armor after killing him, hoping that the armor would indeed protect him from any strike against him. What he did not realize was that Achilles knew all the weak and penetrable areas that the armor had because it belonged to his close friend and was once Achilles's, so even though Hector wanted to go down fighting honorably, he was actually killed in one strike by Achilles. This further proves that dying was in Hector's fate and inevitable.
Pride eventually becomes detrimental to most of the characters in "The Iliad." To begin with, Achilles was overwhelmed in grief that he let his guard down and allowed Patroklos to wear his armor. Achilles wanted to show pride in his people and in those around him, that he ended up making a fatal mistake. Patroklos's death was proof of that. However, it was also Patroklos's pride that made him take Achilles's armor in the first place and what eventually led to his own death by Hector. Patroklos thought that he would be invincible with Achilles armor on. This led him to take Hector on who would eventually end up killing him. This all occurred because Patroklos was too proud to stand down. Hector was actually the one character who ended up with the short end of everyone else's downfall. He chose to take Patroklos's armor and because he was too proud to hide from Achilles, chose to fight him. This led to Hector's death, all as a result of Hector's pride. The combination of all these factors eventually led Hector's hubris to Hector's own fate.
Although rivals, Hector and Achilles were both heros in their own way. They both lived up to the Greek's view of arete as they individually fought for something that they fully believed in and died in the name of their kingdom. They went down in ways that they thought were honorable and died for a cause that they supported. They died in battle, an ultimate sign of heroism and of being a warrior.
The Iliad has become both an example of how war can hurt a society, as well as how it demonstrates bravery of individuals. It can inspire heroism because the main characters of "The Iliad" all believed in their own cause. They were fighting for something more than just themselves. They thought that their beliefs and those for whom they were fighting for, were more important than their lives. This is still seen in wars today. Every war has more than one side, and every individual on each side have their own reason to fight, making themselves justify war for themselves. On the other hand, "The Iliad" also shows the downfall of the war-like mentality. It can lead individuals to make grave mistakes, ones that they probably would not have made had it not been for their sincere and utter dedication for their cause and their inability to die without a fight.
7) Honor and Loyalty
King Arthur both challenged society's definition of honor as well as embodied my definition of honor. Unlike the previously mentioned four heros (Beowulf, Wilgaf, Gilgamesh, and Achilles), King Arthur had more human characteristics. By this statement I mean that he was more empathetic with his soldiers. He saw them as being a part of him and he felt bad for their dying in their battle. This made it quite difficult for him to stand watching them die. Because of it, he wanted to die himself. This is unlike what his predecessors would consider as being honorable, and what society would see as an easy way out, but to him, death was much better than seeing his own people suffer. This fully supports what I see as honorable. He is willing to do something that he fully believes in. He is loyal to his army. Despite what society might think of him for in a way giving up, he thinks it would be the better option, and therefore dies fighting.
Loyalty and honor go hand in hand. In order to fully be considered an honorable man, it is important…
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