The Motivation of Materialism

Since the advent of bartering, materialism has been a prime concern for human beings. Inherent in our human nature is the desire to improve ourselves. This originates as an individualist need for improvement. The only way the individual can measure their standard of living is through comparison with others. This inspires competition in human beings as each person attempts to accrue as much wealth as they possibly can. Over the years, what determines wealth has varied, but its effect has always remained the same; wealth secures the social well being of an individual and that of their progeny. In Homer's Iliad human materialism is conveyed beautifully, but it is also contradicted by the actions of Achilles and Priam towards the end of the poem. This contradiction only serves to reinforce the predominance of human materialism, as it is a byproduct of the extreme circumstances that both Achilles and Priam must endure.

The first confrontation with human materialism occurs at the very outset of the poem. During the argument between Achilles and Agamemnon, the question of capital is consistently coming into question as an important part of the debate process. Achilles is angry at Agamemnon for being villainous in his greed:...

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