The main values glorified in The Iliad and The Odyssey are honor, courage, and eloquence. These three qualities were held as the best characteristics a person could have. Besides, they contributed to the heroic code and made up the Homeric character of a warrior. The Odyssey also promotes hospitality, although it is figuratively mentioned in The Iliad as well.
Honor is the central theme in Homer’s literature. It is the purpose of every hero, but achieving it takes much effort. You need to fulfill heroic actions and be eloquent so that society honors you. Honor is glory plus social status, and both can be gained through brave deeds and wise speeches. Thus, these three values are complementary.
Honor is more important than life. Death in battle is a welcomed ending for a hero. But sometimes, recognition is gained by inaction. For example, Achilles remains idle during most of the plot because his honor has been insulted. The line between honor and pride is very narrow. For this reason, Homer tries to tell us that honor at the expense of friendship is not a virtue.
Courage is the quality of a person who is strong in many aspects. In addition to a healthy body, such a person needs to have steady nerves and powerful motivation. Honor and glory were motivational enough for Ancient Greeks to stay brave.
While honor is a social factor, and courage is a psychological one, eloquence is the index of intellect. Heroes should be wise enough to hold a good speech. It shows that their courage is thoughtful, and their honor is well-deserved.
Hospitality marks a kind person. Achilles eats with his enemy, Priam, when the king comes to collect his son’s body. It shows that the hero can put aside his egoism and accept another person’s pain and needs.
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