This paper considers the figure of the realised or hypothetical effeminised male in Homer's Iliad, and discusses the impact of effeminacy upon idealised masculine identity in the epic. The idea of effeminacy in the Iliad is explored alongside several related but distinct concepts, such as cowardice, childishness, dress, physical appearance and battle-field rebukes and insults. The second half of this paper addresses more specifically the figure of Paris and the comparisons drawn between Paris and his brother Hektor. I argue that actualised or hypothetical effeminacy is constructed in the Iliad in order to define, by contrast, a ‘proper’ masculinity, founded on concepts of martial fortitude and civic responsibility, thoroughly antithetical to the ‘other’ which the effeminised male symbolises.
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