Romantic Red Flags in “The Iliad”


Sing goddess, the hard lessons we learn as young lovers reading “The Iliad” for the first time.

At a school where students may be just as concerned with their ring by spring as they are with their philosophy grades, the Core curriculum encourages students to incorporate their class texts into their lives outside of the classroom. Thus, it is only fitting that students should seek advice from the rhapsode whose entire epic centers around love and romance — Homer. 

Just for you, we have listed a set of tips below that Aphrodite would surely start a war over.

Red Flag 1: He uses you as an excuse to declare war on Troy (2.586-590).

We know everyone gets a piece of the blame pie, but this is what Jason Evert would classify as using someone for your own gain. You are a person to be loved, not a thing to be used. Know your worth and find a man who will fight for you … but not like that. 

Red Flag 2: He beats up a crippled old man (2.265). 

All my homies hate people who disrespect someone’s inherent dignity, and your man should always treat people with respect, even if they’re encouraging people to desert during a decade-long war. Because, if you think about it, would you like him to punch his future father-in-law? No, I didn’t think so.

Red Flag 3: He doesn’t listen to your spot-on military advice (6.440-465).

We love Hektor as much as the next girl in Lit Trad. Of all the men in “The Iliad,” he’s certainly the best one to model your standards on. But you have to admit that he’s a bit of an idiot for not listening to his wife. Maybe he could have kept himself out of the hairy predicament we’ll go over in Red Flag 7.

Red Flag 4: He sends you into battle wearing his armor (16.64-73).

He’s not your man, he’s not your friend or even the best of the Achaians. He’s just a narcissist. This situation just raises so many questions in a relationship. Does bae just want to see himself fight the best of the Trojans? Don’t let him make you into his doppelganger, especially at the expense of a spear in your stomach. On the other hand, this results in high chances of him avenging your death. Weigh your options.

Red Flag 5: He’s your brother … (14.293-296).

We’ll let you figure that one out. But if that’s not enough to turn you away, if he starts mentioning every other woman he’s ever cheated on you with in an attempt to win you over, that’s not love. Zeus is pulling the classic, “you’re not like other girls” trope. Hera, go shine those ox eyes somewhere else. 

(Side note: Did you know that ox eyes are actually a beautiful yellow flower? Ladies, if a guy tells you that you have ox eyes, it’s not a red flag. Go to the Cap Bar with him.)

Red Flag 6: He calls you the bride of his heart and then walks into a tent where a different woman is waiting (9.663-665).

For starters, if you are his slave, you are not Belle and he is not the Beast. You have Stockholm Syndrome. Finish reading and call 911. Furthermore, he’s clearly cheating on you. A box of plain corn flakes would make a better boyfriend than Achilleus.

Red Flag 7: He drags a dead body around the town as a coping mechanism. (24.14-19)

We all have our ways of dealing with things, sometimes using vengeful anger, however, some ideas should just be kept to themselves. Besides, how long do you think the gods will preserve the dead body before it starts to smell? Not a good first fight to have with your boyfriend, back away slowly.

Red Flag 8: If his name starts with a P, ends in an S, with an ARI in between (3.16-37).

Run. As Michael Scott would say, if you had a gun with two bullets in a room with Paris, Agamemnon, and Achilleus, you’d shoot Paris twice.

On that note, we wish you luck in all your romantic endeavors, and may the gods and Homer guide you to your beloved. Stay away from your brother.


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