Compassionate Love In Homer’s Iliad

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University of Ghana


Human beings in all societies depend and interact with one another because they are social beings. In war times, there is chaos and destruction which create trauma. The underlying themes of the Iliad such as wrath, strife, and destruction are established through war and violence. They become the backdrop through which other themes such as honour and pride, justice, loyalty, and sense of responsibility are displayed. These themes in Homer‘s Iliad have been examined by scholars; however, little seems to have been written on the theme of love. In the Iliad, there is an intense level of pain and suffering that exists within humans as a result of the violence of war. The violence of war causes the physical manifestation of emotional hurt. However, one of the most far-reaching and important themes of the Iliad is love between human beings and between the gods, a phenomenon that runs as a counter-part below the surface of the darker themes of violence and destruction which are more obvious. Apparently, many scholars like E.R Dodds, J. T Hooker, M. Finkleberg and P.A.L Greenhalgh, have argued that the characters in the Iliad were motivated to act due to the sense of duty, shame, sheer pride, honour and loyalty. These scholars have overlooked the fact that compassionate love can motivate a character to act even in turbulent times. This thesis argues that there are varied expressions of compassionate love even in times of crisis. The study investigates how some characters in the Iliad are motivated to act out of compassionate love. The research is mainly literature-based using a qualitative research method.


Thesis (MPhil)


Compassionate, Love, Homer, Iliad