Homer's Iliad is laden with messages and ideals that people of ancient Greece once
valued and to some extent we still value today. There are recurrent themes throughout the epic
that support Homer's main message which was learning life lessons and growing as an
individual. The main themes of the Iliad are heroes' code of conduct, honor and rage,
hospitality/community, greed and power, the definition of a hero, and social systems between
Greeks and Trojans. Homer gets his message across through the acts of hubris committed by
characters and the consequences that are ultimately paid by committing this hubris.
Homer uses Achilles as an example of a character that commits hubris through the entire
epic quite consistently. The Iliad begins with Achilles' selfish and childish acts of rage. Achilles
allows for his emotions to overpower him throughout the epic. First when he prays to Thetis for
his comrades to be killed so that Agamemnon will beg him to return to fight the Trojans.
Achilles continues to act like a child and less of a hero until Patroclus' death.
Homer has a way of making the reader have a love and hate relationship with the hero
Achilles. There are times when his acts are so inhuman that he must be hated but towards the end
you realize that he can be human. In the last few books Achilles really show his aresteia. He's an
excellent fighter and Homer makes it clear that is what is valued in their society and it's what
will bring the hero the greatest honor and glory. Achilles at one time pondered the reasons for
remaining at Troy and fighting the Trojans. It is a human thing to question your own existence.
He actually considered for a brief moment living a long and dull life rather than a short and
glorious one. Books 23 and 24 of the Iliad show how Achilles becomes human again by