Macpherson - The Tale of Troy - Lec 18.docx

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Published on 19 Nov 2012
Macpherson, “The Tale of Troy”
Wednesday November 14th, 2012
Main Source of Tales of the Trojan War
The Iliad (=matter of Ilion)
The Odyssey (= matter of Odysseus)
o Epic poems compiled from earlier oral literature
Spread from bard to bard orally
Passed down orally
o Each comprised of 24 “books” (divisions not necessarily original)
o Homer: 8th century BCE (?); tradition of Homer as blind wandering bard
Put down what were already myths from his lifetime
Not an original teller of the story
o The Iliad generally accepted as the oldest literary work in Western history
Where stories of Homer Took Place
Aegean sea is to east of Greece
Adriatic sea is to west of Greece
Troy is across Aegean Sea
Odysseus is from Ithaca… very far away from most of the heroes come from
Island on coast of Western Greece
The Trojan War: Before
Eris’s Golden Apple: “For the fairest”
o Eris: goddess of discord & chaos; born of Nyx
o Paris’s judgment of the three goddesses
Zeus does not want to decide so sends the goddesses down to earth
Paris needs to decide whom to give the apple to
The goddesses tempt him with these gifts:
Hera: power and honour
Athena: victory in war
Aphrodite: Helen of Sparta
The rape of Helen
Paris visits Menelaus… due to xenia… Menelaus welcomes Paris with kindness
Paris steals a lot of the goods in Menelaus home… and also takes Helen… wife of
Menelaus with him as he leaves
o The allegiance sworn by Helen’s ex-suitors
Everybody gets involved in the war
Everyone swore to help Menelaus because they had promised to keep Helen with
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The sacrifice of Iphigeneia
Happens before Trojan war
o Story of the House of Atreus
Happens after Trojan War
Family Tree of the House of Atreus
Lots of killing of children
Place where he was damned if he
did… and damned if he didn’t
Orestes kills his mother to avenge
his father
Gets pursued by furies all around
the world to avenge for his mother
Athena came out to stop this chase
o Interference from god
ended cahse
Frames 2 ends of Trojan war
The Trojan War: The Key Players
o Agamemnon
Leader of Greeks
Brothers with Menelaus
Very vain
Hungry for power
o Menelaus
o Achilles
Son of Thetis greater than
the father
Achilles heel… one
o Odysseus
Tricky character
o Ajax
All brawn
o Nestor
Old man
o Hector
Mightiest of son of Priam
o Priam
50 sons & 50 daughters
o Heabe/ Hecuba
Wife of Priam
Queen of Troy
o Paris
Figure who judged the
Was sent to be killed… but
was saved…
Oracle that said he would
be the downfall of Troy
o Cassandra
Sister of Hector and Paris
Very good oracle,
No one believes her… due
to a curse by Apollo
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