ENGB30H3 Lecture 14: ENGB30 NOTES nov 10

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Freedom of Action in The Iliad
- God’s control not absolute
o Gods counter one another (throughout)
o Achilleus and Athene (1.207ff)
Athene asks if Achilleus will obey her, implying that he could have said no
Achilleus in the end, obeys her.
o Helen and Aphrodite (3.396ff)
Helen disobeys Aphrodite’s obey to sleep with Paris
Not only that, but she also insults Aphrodite, and says if you are so enamored
with Paris, why don’t you go instead and become his wife?
However, Aphrodite ends up threatening Helen enough that she obeys
o Zeus and Achilleus (24.111-119)
Zeus gives instructions to his messengers to carry to Achilleus
Tell Achilleus that he is unhappy that Achilleus will not give back Hektor,
says “perhaps in fear of me, he will give back Hector”
Again, shows the possibility that Achilleus can disobey, however, he
does obey in the end
- Destiny as something yet open to change
o Zeus’s debate with Hera (16.431-449)
Zeus is watching his son Sarpedon and is trying to decide if he should save him
or not.
Hera says that Sarpedon is DESTINED to die in Troy BUT Zeus can prevent his
death if he does choose to do so
However, not all the god’s will agree with this decision, and the other
god’s may feel resentment as they too have children fighting
Shows that destiny can be overridden but there will be consequences
Similar: Athene’s words to Zeus (22.178-181)
o Patroklos’s fury “might have” caused Troy’s fall before the destined time (16.698-712)
Apollo claims that Troy is not destined to fall at the hands of Patroklos
HOWEVER, Patroklos (a mere mortal) ALMOST caused Troy’s fall, thus,
overriding destiny
o Aineias’s “madness” to challenge Achilleus might cause him to “go down into the house
of the death god” “beyond… fate” (20.331-339)
- River analogy: When you are going down a river, you don’t have to let yourself be swept along
by the current, you can try to move and resist. Although you can’t change your fate ultimately,
you can still effect the individual events that lead up to it.
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