The Role of Honor
The ancient Greek culture during the time of the Trojan War was warrior based. Every man was expected to fight and to fight well. A man's honor depended on many things like how well he fought, how much material wealth he had, and his hospitality. A man must look strong at all times, and never appear to be weak. This warrior based characteristic of the Greek culture caused many problems and feuds among the people. The Iliad consists of many different situations where it can clearly be seen that honor played a major role in the outcome. Such situations are the argument among Agamemnon and Akhilleus, the conversation between Andromakhe and Hektor, and the fight between Akhilleus and Hektor.
Immediately the reader is introduced to a situation very much involving the personal honor of two men. Agamemnon, the great leader of the Akhaians, and Akhilleus, the greatest warrior of the Akhaians, are entailed in a fierce argument.
Agamemnon has angered the gods by failing to return Khryses, the daughter of the priest, which he had claimed as a prize in a previous victory. Akhilleus discovers that this is the reason why the gods are angry and insists that Agamemnon return the priest's daughter. To save this army, Agamemnon agrees, but demands in return a prize of honor. Agamemnon feels that his honor is being compromised, and he is willing to give his reward up without receiving any compensation in return from his soldier's winnings. He is the leader of the Akhaians, and for him to lose his reward while all the other soldiers keep theirs is unacceptable. Akhilleus feels that this would be dishonoring the other troops, and does not think it is right to take their reward away. Agamemnon is angered and decides to take...