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Lecture 3

Week 3 - Iliad - Books 1-8

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Timothy Perry

Ryan Breen Timothy Perry CLA236 January Iliad 1-8 Book 1  First extent work in western literature o SOME argue it is the greatest o Even though it is the beginning, it actually is more of the end literary tradition Patronymics  ‘son of Peleus’ = Achiles  ‘son of Atreus’ = Agamemnon or Menelaus o Atreidus - *ides* means the son of in Greek  ‘son of Menoetius = Patroclus Nationalities  Greeks = Achaens, Argives, Danaans  Trojans, Dardanians, Phyrgians  Ilium is another name for Troy Formulas  Short, repeated phrases  Feature of oral tradition o Poet composes as he performs  Useful for maintaining metre  The Homeric epithet o Words like “Brilliant”, quick-footed to describe Achilles o Zeus = god of clouds o Describitive adjectives associated with someone’s name  Formulaic example o He bit the earth with his teeth = death Setting  Trojan war  Greeks vs. Trojans  Fought for the return of Helen  Helen is the most beautiful women in the world  Iliad only focuses on a few days of the 10 year Trojan war o In particular it focuses on the hero Achilles Summary of events that lead up to the War  Various strands of greek myths or legend come together to leave up to the Trojan war  Father and Mother of Achilles o Father = greek hero o Mother = greek sea goddess o They get married  Originally Zeus wants to marry mother  However there is a myth that the son will be greater than the father  Zeus doesn’t want this and avoids it, and the possibility of Zeus being scared by the offspring if another god marries her  So zeus marries her off to a mortal  Mother agrees to the wedding  All gods are invited except Eris  Eris is the goddess of strike  Which was not suitable at a wedding  So she gets an apple, and writes a message on an apple that says for the most beautiful woman  All the female gods fight over it  These leads to judgement of Paris, who is suppose to settle the dispute  All the God’s try to bribe them o Aphrodite offers Helen to fall in love with them o Helen is the wife of menalayous, king of Sparta, menalayous is the brother of Agamemnon o Paris of course chooses Aphrodite, in order to obtain Helen o Aphrodite aids Paris to capture Helen from Sparta o This starts the war o 10 year of the siege is where the action of the Iliad takes place o Abduction of Helen is frequently mention o The judgement of Paris is only mentioned once in lighting o The wedding of Achilles parents is not mentioned at all The Prologue  Invocation of the Muse o First line doesn’t mention the goddess  Less elaborate than Hesiod  Sets out what the poem will be about o Subject is wrapped in the first line  The wrath of Achilles o Identifies a very different subject, “rage” of Achilles and its consequences  This rage is not what one would normally expect  The consequences of this rage cost the Achaeans many losses.  The will of Zeus o The plan of Zeus o Everything that happens is the will of Zeus, all the suffering everything o Why is this?  Zeus is asked to let the Achaeans suffer  Many near eastern myths contain a divine plan that is to destroy humanity  This feature of the poem was part of this near eastern myth  Homer is entirely absent from the Prologue, and not mentioned throughout the poem at all o Hesiod mentions much about himself in the Theogony  Heroes in Greek literature are protectors of people, but in contrast they also can cause great trouble. Main Action of Iliad 1 Argument of Agamemnon and Achilles  Both are men of political power o Achilles = best personal warrior o Agamemnon = best political leader  Ostensibly over two women  Chryseis o Slave woman has been captured over the course of the war o Her father is a priest to Apollo o A plague is placed on the army till his daughter is returned o Agamemnon agrees and returns her, but wants another woman in return  Briseis o Briseis = Achilles slave woman o Agamemnon wants Achilles slave woman o Achilles is about to kill him o He stops, gives Agamemnon his women, but says that he will no longer fight, and take his warriors with them o Women in this time were obviously seen as just property and did not have any individual rights  Actually tied to heroic code – governs the ways in which heroes were suppose to behave or act o Time (honour)  Goal of most heroic action, while the hero is alive  Is given into hero in recognition of his worth, by the titan community  Word also means worth or value in greek  Translation is usually correct, but more abstractly the translation would mean glory o Kudos (glory)  Usually seen as tangible wealth o Geras (a prize)  Object of tangible wealth given for their heroic service to the community o A hero who proves his worth to community is often given honour o Each of these women were given to each of Achilles and Agamemnon as prizes by the community for recognition of honour and greatness given into them by community  So Agamemnon has to give up his “geras” (prize) o It would be dishonourable for him to give up his prize o This is why he demands a replacement o But when he asks for another heroes prize, he breaches the heroic code  Agamemnon takes Achilles woman, he has dishonoured him o Achilles is already upset that Agamemnon gets too many prizes o He then argues that he and his warriors are doing the brunt of the fighting and that the plunder is not being divided up evenly o IT is because of this that he refuses to fight  Achilles refusal to fight,
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