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Word Count: 2,363
The Iliad deals primarily with human relationships There is a preoccupation with life and death pride love in its many guises and honour and these traits are all shown through the interactions between the characters One aspect of the relationships on offer in the work which it is essential that we bear in mind is the fact that the perspective is a wholly male one Women whether presented as peripheral to the story as in the Iliad or as essential to it as in the Odyssey are largely symbolic in Homers works and the society of the epics does not depict any one period or group of women due to its method of construction When exploring the nature of the mother-son relationship in the world of the Iliad we must ask What role does the mother take in her sons life What is her attitude towards her son What is the sons attitude to his mother and to her role Why is she depicted the way she is To what extent does a woman have power in this role or perhaps more specifically is the mother-son relationship perceived as very significant or important We could also ask how motherhood in this context fits in to the Homeric societyThe Iliads main mother-son pairings are Thetis and Achilles and Hector and Hecuba Though there are others who are interesting for example the character of Andromache in her role as mother of Astanax There are definite male and female spheres of life in the Iliad it is after all an epic war story and war is seen as the concern of men There are many explicit references to motherhood in the form of similes for example when Agamemnon is injured in battle his pain is said to comeAs the sharp sorrow of pain descends on a woman in labour the bitterness that the hard spirits of childbirth bring onThis suggests that in Homers world child bearing is a
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