Essay on Feminism: Iliad and Patroclus

Submitted By alexlevine11
Words: 1385
Pages: 6

Homer and Troy- Death of Patroclus

Do the values of Homeric warrior culture translate into the movie Troy?

The Homeric warrior culture is based on the principle that war is a constant fact of life. Defeat usually means the destruction of one’s property, slaughter of males and enslavement of both women and children. In times of war, women were regarded as objects and were considered prizes. Warrior culture also revolved around three main terms. The first term was Arête, which meant the innate quality that renders one superior to others excellence or virtue. The second term was Kleos, which simply meant Glory. Finally, the third term was Timê: it is represented in a shame culture, where mere success is not sufficient and therefore timê refers to the public acknowledgement of arête excellence. This excellence was usually shown with the riches of victory, which included taking the natural riches ( ex. Gold, silver etc.) , and the women as slaves, as well.

In the passage that my group assessed, Patroclus leads Achilles men to battle, wearing Achilles war armour. Before talking about the passage, it is important to understand the reasoning behind why Patroclus impersonated Achilles. Agamemnon, the leader of the Argive army, publically humiliates Achilles and robes him of his Kleos, by claiming Achilles’s war prize, Briseis for his own. In the Homeric warrior culture, a warrior’s Kleos is what drives him. Achilles didn’t have to come to Troy, as he wasn’t bound by the promise made to who ever married Helen. He came to Troy to win timê (honour) and ultimately, Kleos (glory). When Agamemnon dishonours Achilles and makes his win seem trivial, Achilles Kleos is taken away and therefore he withdraws. Patroclus appeals to Achilles in the Iliad as he wants to deliver some Kleos to his army, even if Achilles refuses to fight.

In the Iliad, Patroclus is portrayed as a respectful man, who looks up to Achilles due to his great power. Some commentators believe that in fact Patroclus is older than Achilles. However, in Troy, Patroclus is depicted as a selfish, rebellious teenager, who only thinks about his own personal glory. These two different depictions are relevant, as they give two different explanations for why Patroclus enters this battle. In the Iliad, it seems as though Patroclus enters the war for the good of his army. Some may argue that Patroclus is attempting to take Achilles Kleos, however I believe that Patroclus wants the victory for the army as a whole, not just for his own personal gain. The Argives are losing, and when he addresses Achilles he states” Send me into battle, let the whole Myrmidon army follow my command. I might bring some light of victory to our Argives” Patroclus is acting selflessly in this representation. He has two goals here: the first is to hopefully gain a victory for his men, the Myrmidons. He wants Kleos for his army, as well as Arête for himself. While he understand that’s Achilles is in charge, Patroclus still strives for some level of excellence. The second goal is to deliver some hope back to his men. While Achilles refuses to fight, he brought with him 5 ships with 50 men on each ship. These men came to fight, not watch the other armies fight, as their moral decreases. Achilles is aware that Patroclus will wear his armour, and even gives the pre-battle speech in order to fire his men up. While Achilles is upset and feels his Arête was questioned, he doesn’t want to take away the Kleos from his army due to his own personal feelings.

In Troy however, Patroclus acts irrationally. Without notifying his cousin, he impersonates him and leads the Myrmidons to battle. Achilles doesn’t let Patroclus fight in the earlier battles, as he is trying to protect him, however this aggravates the hormone-ragging Patroclus. He feels insignificant and wants to get in on the action. He is hoping that by leading the men into battle, he himself will acquire Kleos, and is less concerned with how his