Homer's Traits

August 26, 2008
By Kristin Brig, Knoxville, TN

Homer has strongly affected much of history. He presented to and challenged the world to live up to his two main traits. These were courage and honor, and both remain two of the most highly recommended virtues that people can have. In his footsteps followed the Greek polis and Greek and USA history, as well as movies around the world.

With great responsibility comes a large privilege. So the Greek polis thought in their day and age, and this tradition still lives on today. Homer believed that responsibility included giving of oneself in courage for one’s people; privilege was given after the act. In his footsteps, the Greeks conceived of the same idea, using it in their city-state system. Huge heroes in Greek history were allowed a great deal of influence in government in return for their brave deeds. Oftentimes, this would take several of them to high leadership in the communities in which they lived and worked.

These heroes have normally popped up when a giant task or war was ahead of their people. For instance, Odysseus, an incredible warrior during the Trojan War, showed courage and honor in the face of danger. His heroism was sung about all through The Illiad and The Odyssey. Thinking up the Trojan horse and escaping hundreds of terrors on the trip home, he was honored back and rewarded upon arriving at his island. In United States history, another hero has lived up to Homer’s traits also. Dwight D. Eisenhower was the Supreme Commander of the troops who invaded Normandy on June 6, 1944. With great courage and valor, he led his troops into battle against the Germans and, defeating them, began the complete invasion of Nazi Europe. The White House waited for him when he reached home, and he was elected president for two terms spanning from 1953 to 1961. America continues to honor him for his bravery in World War II.

Homeric traits have arisen in several movies over the ages. One of these happens to be The Fantastic Four, along with countless superhero movies. In this movie, the Fantastic Four have powers forcibly put on them. They use them wisely, bravely saving people from danger throughout New York City. Their courage and honor are praised by the entire population of the country, and privileges are bestowed upon them from the leaders of the city.

Homeric traits can be found anywhere, including today’s media, history, and countries. To be brave and have honor is to develop into such heroes that Homer speaks of. As Homer once said, “Without a sign, his sword the brave man draws, and asks no omen, but his country's cause.” Thus does the act of courage create honor, and honor generate greatness in man.

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