Job And Gilgamesh: A Comparison Of Inevitable Suffering

892 words - 4 pages

4. In Homer’s Iliad, explain how the concept of shame functions for the characters of the poem. What, generally, is shame, and how and why are people supposed to be affected by it? In your answer, select an example of shaming from the text which has what you would call a standard effect, and also indicate at least two instances where shame does not have the standard effect. In the two exceptional instances, explain why you believe the concept does not function “properly”.

The shame concept holds a significant part of life in ancient times. Especially, among the Greeks, shame was widely regarded as a matter of life and death, which can be observed in ...view middle of the document...

In addition to the loss of honor, Agamemnon insults him by saying that he has no meaning for the army; which is intolerable. The insult which aims to shame Achilles works, he feels ashamed and leaves in order to demonstrate his importance for army.
The example in Book 1 is normal; on the other hand, there is an exceptional instance in Book 9. After Achilles has gone, the Greek army experiences so difficult times. Since the future of war doesn’t seem good, Agamemnon decides to entice Achilles, the best warrior, to return. Although he presents some valuable gifts which are hard to reject, Achilles does not accept the gifts. When Achilles rejects the gifts, Odysseus makes a speech in order to make feel Achilles ashamed, remind what he will gain at the end of the battle and what he will lose if he does not return. He states that if failure which is up to Achilles happens, it will be source of shame to Achilles for years. On the other hand, in the battle, honor will be. Interestingly, Achilles challenges him. He mentions that ever since he knew himself, for years, he has fought; however he has put himself in danger for others and attained nothing. The most important thing he says is when he returns home, he would live a long time even if he had no fame. This is so weird and unexpected reaction. Achilles acts against the shame concept because he rejects the gifts aiming to repair his honor and disregards fame. Odysseus made a speech meant to persuade him return and feel ashamed due to outcomes of wrong decision; nevertheless, he gives no...

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