The Iliad 3 Essay Research Paper The

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The Iliad 3 Essay, Research Paper The Circle: The Key to The Hidden Themes of The Iliad In society, the circle is considered to be a symbol of continuous motion. In literature, common concepts such as this can be related to events and trends in the story to convey a much deeper thematic message. Therefore, through analysis of these relationships the reader can understand bigger picture that is being presented. In Homer s The Iliad the concept of the circle is applied to multiple aspects of the story including the heroic cycle, the circle of life, and the heroic journey. Although it may have a very simple meaning in modern society, the concept of the circle in The Iliad is related to multiple aspects of the book in order to convey complex and important underlying themes to the

reader. One of the first circular trends to become apparent to the reader is the heroic cycle. All heroes of classic literature complete this customary cycle beginning with their rise to power and ending with their death. This is not to be confused with a hero s heroic journey, which is the process that brings change and new understanding. The heroic cycle that is apparent in The Iliad begins as a hero rises to power. Often, a hero is offered a chance or is forced into this rise of power by an external force or situation that is out of his or her control. For example, in The Iliad, Patroclos is offered by chance the possibility of wearing Achilles armor to fight against the Trojans. Patroclos only confronts Achilles because he realizes the severity of the current situation as

seen in the following passage: Don t be angry, Achilles my prince, our strong deliver! Such misfortune has come to out people! They are who used to be the best in the field, lying wounded, shot or stabbed, somewhere among the ships! (188; Book 16) However, if a character of a story attempts to rig a beneficial situation such as this with subversive actions they are not considered to be embarking upon the heroic cycle because no devious actions may be involved in a hero s quest through the heroic cycle. Patroclos, upon accepting Achilles armor and fighting against the Trojans, has begun his rise to power. At this point in the text Patroclos is seen as the lead warrior as portrayed in the following passage: And then the Achians would have taken the proud city of Troy by the velour

of Patroclos, for he went onwards like a storm (199; Book16). But as Fate would have it, every hero s period of triumph and glory must come to an end. The last phase of the heroic cycle is the hero s death and destruction. Patroclos high moment soon comes to a close when he is stunned by Phoibos and killed by Hector. The following passage describes this event and it is apparent that Patroclos is unable alter his fate. Patroclos did not see him coming, for the god was hidden in the mist. He stood behind Patroclos: his eyes rolled in rage, and he slapped him between the soldiers with the flat of his hand. The helmet was knocked from his head and the plumes were dabbled in blood and dust. . His mind was blinded, his knees crickled, under him, he stood there dazed (201; Book 16) Soon

Hector kills Patroclos and ends his heroic cycle. Patroclos is a superb example of the heroic cycle because his journey is short and compact. Most main character s quests are much longer and last through many chapters. Here, all in the same chapter, Patroclos experiences his call and rise to power, peak of glory and triumph, and death. Yet, the rounded pattern of the heroic cycle is not the only application of the circle to society in The Iliad; the circle also adds multitudes of meaning of the circle of life. Timeless literature typically contains several universal themes and morals that allow it to relate to future generations. In The Iliad, the concept of the circle is applied to the circle of life to symbolize its perpetual motion. Yet this circular pattern also holds true to