The Iliad: Love and Characterization

Tuesday, August 23, 2016 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

At this time, the first day of class began. I walked in and Dr. Sandridge had a guitar in his hand. He asked us to find out what Woody Guthrie’s guitar said. This famous guitar had the words “This machine kills fascists” on it. He did the roll call and he asked some people how they were doing. I am confident that this class will be exciting and was happy that all of the readings were online instead of us having to buy each book. We were told to begin reading book 1 of the Iliad and to make note of a few key points. He told us about how Achilles’ parents were the nymph Thetis and the king Peleus. The prophecy said that whoever mates with Thetis will have a son greater than himself, and this is why Achilles grows up to be a great warrior. Also, another thing was the apple of discord. The apple said it was for the fairest, so Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite all believed it for themselves and not the other. This plan was thought of by Eris in order to cause chaos among the gods. These three gods made Paris decide which of them was the fairest. Athena promised him the mind of a great strategic warrior, Hera promised that he would be a king, and Aphrodite promised that he would get Helen of Troy, who was the best wife a guy could have. He ultimately took Aphrodite’s offer and this was one of the causes of the Trojan War since Paris, a Trojan prince stole her from the Greek king, Menelaus.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

In Dr. Sandridge’s class, we were asked about what Achilles and Agamemnon see as the most important. I believe Achilles wants the respect of his comrades and values his friendships and relationships. This is seen when he gets upset when Briseis is taken from him. He also has a lot of pride and wants to be known as a great warrior. Agamemnon wants the respect of his peers, but in a different way. He wants to be the top ruler of the Greek forces. He does not see the feelings of others as important and is willing to step on others to get what he wants. We were also asked about how each of them see their own identity. Agamemnon sees himself as being perfect or at least close to perfect. He believes that he is always right and that people should respect him as the most powerful Greek king. Achilles sees himself as the savior for the Greek forces. He also believes that he is a great warrior who should be respected as a hero.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 10:15 p.m. to 11:15 p.m.

I had a conversation with my friend about the worth of human beings. She said human beings are worth different amounts depending on their status. A person with a great career will be worth more than a college student. College students will be worth close to a half a million dollars. I believe human life is very valuable because of the potential for every human to do well and help other life forms. Also, we have the ability to do many things even if we are not the most talented people in the world. Also, we discussed if bad people are not worth much. She said that they can be because some bad people have a lot of influence in the world. I think that this is true as well because people can be very important even if their personality is not great. Also, if someone is bad to one person, it does not mean that he or she is bad to another individual.

Thursday August 25, 2016 11:00 to 12:30 p.m.

In class we discussed Book 1 of the Iliad. This was mainly about the dispute between Agamemnon and Achilles and how it affected the Greek forces. Agamemnon took Briseis away from Achilles even though Achilles and Briseis had a close relationship and he won her as spoils for his service in the war. This made Achilles feel violated and furious. Both men have a lot of influence over the soldiers, yet both men do not really care that much about the well-being of the other soldiers. Each of them is willing to put his personal goals ahead of the other’s feelings even though their cooperation will help to win the war. This causes the Greeks (Achaeans) to suffer following the situation. We were then instructed to read books 2 through 4 or class on Tuesday.

Saturday August 27, 2016 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

In my Greek Literature in Translation class, we were told to visit the National Gallery on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. As I was there I observed the art in the museum. There were works of art that reflected love in unique ways:

This was one work of art that displayed love to me. According to Christianity/The Bible, Jesus Christ sacrificed himself so that all of mankind could be forgiven for their many sins. He put up with the torture and scrutiny of the Roman Empire even though he was a pure person because they did not want a threat to the empire. He was being referred to as the king of the Jews. He carried the cross on his back up a hill after he was whipped and then paid the ultimate price, crucifixion, for his “crimes” against the Roman Empire. It always amazes me how someone could sacrifice themselves for people who do not deserve his love. He could have fled Israel and lived longer, but he wanted to make sure that everyone’s sins were forgiven I personally would never do this and I think that this ultimately characterizes the power of love. This is a really powerful love because he sacrificed so much for the sake of others.

In this picture a tall woman is wringing the water out of her hair. Beside her, a child is holding out a cup to catch the water that is dripping from the hair. Also, this statue is on top of a fountain and real water drops are falling from her hair at about 25 to 30 drops per minute. There are coins at the bottom of the fountain as well. This shows the power of responsibility and love. The mother is making sure that the child has enough water to properly quench his thirst. This form of love in the form of responsibility reflects parenthood or brotherly/sisterly relationships and how the older makes sure that the younger person is safe and has enough to survive and flourish.

In this picture, a lady is nursing her baby. This sculpture represents the the love in parenthood. I could not get a picture close to the sculpture because it was behind glass, but I could still see the details it had. Human children are helpless when born. The mother is holding the child in her arms on her thigh to give the child proper support and is looking deeply into its eyes. Having great parents is important because they are the people who teach children how to love so they have to provide a good example of how to do that themselves. This way, children will grow up to love, respect, and become great parents later on in life.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 11:10 to 12:30

In class we started by discussing how to write the journal entries, as I am doing here. Dr. Sandridge stated again that we should devote ten hours a week to this class. Three of the hours will be used during the class time (i.e. one and a half hours on Tuesday and Thursday). The other seven hours will be used to read the passages, study and ponder on questions that he asks us on the syllabus. He also said that people who just joined the class are responsible for work that they missed and will not get credit for being in class in the first week. We then discussed Books Two through Four in the Iliad. In these books, Agamemnon tried to test the morale of the Greek forces, but it backfired. He tried to say that Zeus was on the Trojan’s side and that he was going to give up to inspire the forces to want to stay, but this made the Greeks want to go back, especially since they had been fighting for ten years. This highlights Agamemnon’s poor leadership skills. Also, the Greeks were then organized by city-state in order for each soldier to fight alongside his neighbor in an effort to boost pride and morale. The class agreed that the ending of Book Two was grueling because Homer listed all of the troops on both sides and all of the cities that they were from. Dr. Sandridge said that this was for the ancient Greeks to validate the poets performing the Iliad so that every person would believe this story. We then spend a bit of time discussing Paris’ fight with Menelaus. Paris had an underwhelming performance and was saved by Aphrodite, the goddess of love and cowardice. The Greeks insisted that Helen be returned since they won that battle and everyone wanted to go home, but Hera wanted the complete destruction of Troy, so her ally, Athena coerced Pandarus, a Trojan archer to shoot an arrow at Menelaus. The arrow was about to kill him, but she made it hit him in the leg by flicking her wrist, which demonstrates her incredible power. This ended the cease fire, s the war started again, while Paris went back and slept with Helen, which demonstrates his cowardly personality. We also talked about how this made Agamemnon sad because he began to feel like a failure since he was fighting this war to avenge him and almost was the cause of his death. Agamemnon felt anger, grief, embarrassment, and disappointment in this critical situation.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

In class, we were instructed to read Book Five of the Iliad and think about our understanding of the term hero, what they look like, what they do, what are their values, and what do they wear. I believe that a hero does not have to wear a cape and spandex such as the ones in movies. Also, I believe that a hero does not have to have large muscles or be able to fight five people at once. A hero can look like an ordinary or a grand person, but he/she has to have courage. A hero also has to be able to fight for what is right and protect loved ones and people who need help. A hero constantly does the right thing or admits when he/she is wrong in order to learn from mistakes for the purpose of helping others. I have not read a poem about that type of hero because it is not an exciting hero. People want to be impressed by heroes and this types of hero can be seen in many people so he/she is regular. I still believe that a hero like this is impressive, but the rest of the world would not agree. Diomedes is a central character in Book Five. He obtains divine assistance to make him a great warrior, but he is told not to attack any gods besides Aphrodite. He then breaks this pact by attacking another god. This shows that he is not really a hero because he only obtained super strength from others and cannot even follow the rules because he is so arrogant in his abilities. He also then gets frightened later when Ares joins the fight, which means that he only tries to attack those that he feels are weaker than him.

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