Utilization of Body Parts in the Iliad by Homer
The Iliad is one of the most powerful poems written by Homer (Grecian author) having an epic impression. This poem has reached many people over the decades, leaving a strong impact on them. It is my claim that Homer is obsessed with body parts in the Iliad because I think Homer sees that the body parts or the whole body can affect feminine and the masculine culture.
For instance, Homer in the Iliad, talks about the breast of Hecuba Hector’s mother and says that she uses it for many purposes. Hecuba as a mother, was so connected to her son Hector, and she takes care of him, feeding him from her breasts and giving him the security he needed in order to grow up as a strong warrior man, leading the soldiers in wars.
Hecuba symbolizes the ancient Greek feminine culture; she has breasts which are the source of power to her and to her sons. As she to fed her son Hector when he was a little child, she gave him the power to live the life of a lord that fits his position as a Trojan prince, warrior and as a man in the masculine culture.
‘Hector, my child! Look -have some respect for this!
Pity your mother too, if I ever gave you the breast
To soothe your troubles, remember it now, dear boy-
beat back the savage man from safe inside the walls!’
These words help us to see closely the mother-son relationship of Hecuba and Hector. We can see that Hecuba is a great woman and mother, who really cares about the future of her son and tries to protect him as much as she can. She first uses her breasts to feed Hector and Paris, and as they become young men, then she starts to use her breasts as a way of preventing Hector from doing something she does not want him to do. She uses her body parts in order to remind Hector of the good times he had spent with her when he was a little child, the times of peace and innocence.
Hecuba as a female has breasts as other females do, but the difference is that she knows exactly how she can be able to use them for her own benefits. In some cases, she uses her breasts in order to prevent Hector from going to the confrontation with the strong fighter, Achilles. She bares her breasts and shows them to Hector, in order to get Hector’s sympathy and to make him stop from going to the war.
As we see that Homer really is obsessed with the body parts of the women in The Iliad poem, he is also obsessed with the whole human body. Homer shows the reader an example of how the women in ancient times used their body for many reasons.
“Zeus: ”Hera, there will be a time afterwards when you can go there as well.
But now let us go to bed and turn to love-making. For never before has a love for any goddess or woman so melted about the heart inside me, broken it to submission, as now. ‘
Hera: ‘I will remind you of all this, so you will give up your deceptions, see if your love-making in bed will help you. That way you lay with me apart from the gods, and divided me.’
We can understand that Hera is talking to Zeus about their love-making in bed after she succeeded to change the destiny of the war. Hera uses her body to get the things she needs, and she takes advantage of Zeus’ sexual appetite in order to stop him from knowing her tricks and her involvement in changing the war track. This shows that the women can use their bodies for their own benefits and favors. On the other hand, we can also see how Zeus is ready to bed Hera and urges her to do it now. He tries to convince her that there is no time left. They must sleep with each other. Zeus shows how men could lose their control because of the women.
Another part of this poem that shows how the body is important is when Achilles kills Hector and takes his body with him.
“Achilles: Don’t be angry, Patroclus, if you learn –
even though you’re in Hades – I gave Hector back
to his father for a worthy ransom
But I shall give a proper share to you.’
We can see here that Achilles has killed Hector and he refuses to give his dead body back until he gets a worthy ransom. Achilles know that Hector’s body is so appreciated by his people. he is a prince, and in ancient time, warriors used to take the enemy’s body with them once they won the war. They understood that the body is so precious and a tool to take revenge and ransoms. That is why Achilles takes Hector’s body with him and tortured it after the war. I think that Homer tries here to put a strong emphasis on the body, because it can be used against the enemy.
In conclusion, we can now portray a good picture of how Homer in The Iliad is obsessed with the whole body and the body parts. I claim that Homer is utilizing the body frequently, in order to put a strong emphasis on how the feminine and the masculine culture resembles each other in their needs, and how people can be affected by this mention of body parts and the body as a whole.
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