View Poll Results: Iliad or Odyssey?

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  • The Iliad

    6 66.67%
  • The Odyssey

    3 33.33%
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Thread: The Iliad or The Odyssey?

  1. #16
    Registered User prendrelemick's Avatar
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    I think it is the Illiad's uncompromising directness - or perhaps crudeness - that appeals. It is so visceral. No literary device gets between you and the experience. Each death is right there in your face. Treating the combatants as individuals, for example, with family and back story rather than mere narrative fodder is very effective in this. As Stalin said, a single death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic. So tragedy builds on tragedy, one doomed man after another faces his fate, and becomes renowned for a short minute or two. The Odyssey may be "the first Western novel worth reading" (according to T E Lawrence), but it doesn't give you the same emotional kick.
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  2. #17
    The Gnu Normal Pompey Bum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prendrelemick View Post
    I think it is the Illiad's uncompromising directness - or perhaps crudeness - that appeals. It is so visceral. No literary device gets between you and the experience. Each death is right there in your face. Treating the combatants as individuals, for example, with family and back story rather than mere narrative fodder is very effective in this. As Stalin said, a single death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic. So tragedy builds on tragedy, one doomed man after another faces his fate, and becomes renowned for a short minute or two. The Odyssey may be "the first Western novel worth reading" (according to T E Lawrence), but it doesn't give you the same emotional kick.
    The humanity of the characters does not shield us from the inhumanity of the violence. If anything, it blurs the distinction. Perhaps that is why such an ancient poem remains so authentic to us. We know where humanity goes from Troy, but we know it remains human. And so do we.
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

  3. #18
    Registered User prendrelemick's Avatar
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    I don't know about the inhumanity of the violence, it is usually agreed to beforehand by the two individuals involved - very civilized.
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  4. #19
    The Gnu Normal Pompey Bum's Avatar
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    I was thinking more of the mutilation of Hector's corpse, which was dragged on and on behind Achilles' chariot. And the humanity of Priam, stealing into the Greek camp to beg him for his son's body. And Achilles finding it in himself to return his remains to his weeping father. Human beings still struggle with violence and rage, but we remain human for all that. In Homer's vision, I suspect, humanity and inhumanity are two sides of the same coin. So perhaps in that way, the distinction is a little blurred.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 08-04-2018 at 07:05 PM.
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

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