Homeric Moments: Clues to Delight in Reading the Odyssey and by Eva Brann

By Eva Brann

"Written with wit and readability, this ebook could be of worth to these interpreting the Odyssey and the Iliad for the 1st time and to these educating it to beginners."-Library magazine In forty eight short chapters, Eva Brann delves underneath the alluring floor of Homer's epics to discover the internal connections and layers of that means that experience made those intricately built works "the marvels of the ages."

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Extra info for Homeric Moments: Clues to Delight in Reading the Odyssey and the Iliad

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Odysseus delivers the gist: "I'll do all this for you if you'll give up your grudge (cholos)," to which Agamemnon had added: "[Only] Hades is so unsoothable and unmanageable, and that is why he is the most hated of gods among mortals"; and he adds something about his being more kingly and older. That part of the message Odysseus wisely represses and reinvents: "If you hate Agamemnon too much, him and his gifts, at least pity the Greeks as a whole. " In the house of the short-lived, one does not speak of Hades, and to his human incarnation one does not denigrate him—these things are true of Achilles, I hope to show (13).

Achilles gets very excited. "Zeus-born Patroclus, what have you said! I care nothing for any oracle that I know nor has my lady-mother declared any to me from Zeus"; I am just full of grief (achos, playing on his name), he goes on, at being treated by Agamemnon as some alien without rights who can be dishonored at will. From this outburst no one can tell whether he has heard something and doesn't care, or whether, as far as he knows, there is no oracle. He had, in fact, claimed the day before to have heard just such an oracle about his choice of fates.

He had, in fact, claimed the day before to have heard just such an oracle about his choice of fates. Where is the heroic candor? In our latter-day language, Achilles is in denial. This is self-deception, self-ignorance, unwitting lying—though lying to oneself can never be witless deep down. It is a poignant moment Patroclus has elicited, this unintentional confession of the hero's fear of death; he has brought out the wily sub-soul of an unwily hero. Achilles says that he hates lying as he hates the gates of Hades, but it is, after all, the gates of Hades he hates more.

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