What lessons are there to be learnt from The Iliad for a) an Ancient Greek and b) us today? What actions and events should be emulated and which avoided? Can any of the deeply flawed characters be considered a true role-model?
This is a tough one, Socrates. There’s at least one role model for everyone and in everyone but as you point out every human is deeply flawed. So you pick and choose among the virtues you’d like to have and the vices you’d rather avoid. And then there’s the difficulty of one man’s virtue being another man’s vice a la Jack Nicholson: “You can’t handle the truth” –he was right. There are times, as in warfare, when you can’t believe the horrors you’ve perpetrated in the name of god and/or country; you did them because it was the thing to do given the loathsome circumstances you were presented with at the instant you had to make the choice.
All this to tell you that I can’t chose a role model among the characters in the Iliad. There’s good and bad among’em all. I see Homer’s work as grand metaphor and I can’t get past it.
My own favorite role model was thought up by Shakespeare: Iago, not an admirable man but he taught me the power of words softly spoken and timely.