Job and Gilgamesh: a Comparison of Inevitable Suffering

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4. In Homer’s Iliad, explain how the concept of shame functions for the characters of the poem. What, generally, is shame, and how and why are people supposed to be affected by it? In your answer, select an example of shaming from the text which has what you would call a standard effect, and also indicate at least two instances where shame does not have the standard effect. In the two exceptional instances, explain why you believe the concept does not function “properly”.

The shame concept holds a significant part of life in ancient times. Especially, among the Greeks, shame was widely regarded as a matter of life and death, which can be observed in numerous noticeable works such as the Iliad. In the Iliad, when the characters try to make the one who acts against the society or needs to be motivated, feel ashamed by talking and insulting. This can be observed with dialogues of many characters like between Achilles and Agamemnon or Odysseus, and between Paris and Hector. There are numerous instances; some are acceptable and standard while some are really abnormal and extraordinary, in the Iliad Books 1, 3 and 9.
There is an emphasized standard effect of shame In Book 1. Because Agamemnon feels himself superior, he gets Briseis, Achilles’ prize as a symbol of honor. Achilles becomes extremely angry and humiliates Agamemnon. In front of the army, he calls Agamemnon ‘shameless’. Then, Agamemnon shoots back, questions if he is a good warrior and says: “Desert! You are nothing to me.” Because of this statement, Achilles attempts to kill Agamemnon; however, gives up with the intervention of goddess. Upon this, Achilles leaves the battle. In fact, this is understandable because of shame concept in Greece, which is an important matter. Having had no prize anymore, Achilles’ status is lowered in the eyes of community. He is convinced that…...

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