The Idea of Revenge in the Iliad and the Odyssey

In both the Iliad and the Odyssey we encounter vengeance exacted by the protagonists. In the Iliad, a poem explicitly about the "rage" or "wrath" of Achilles, we discover the rage that follows from the sorrow for the death of a loved one. In Books XV and XVI, the beloved companion, Patroclus, is killed by Hector … Continue reading The Idea of Revenge in the Iliad and the Odyssey

Notes on Odysseus’s Tale to the Phaeacians

"Odysseus before Alcinous, King of the Phaeacians" by August Malmström in 1853 In Book IX, the "great teller of tales" responds to Alcinous's request by first revealing his name as Odysseus (paralleling the tale of his venture with Polyphemus). He reminds the Phaeacians of his many troubles and woes after finally revealing his name, he … Continue reading Notes on Odysseus’s Tale to the Phaeacians

Phemius and Demodocus: Two Bards Considered

Homer by Felix Boisselier, early 19th century In Homer's Odyssey, we encounter two different examples of poets, one hailing from the halls of Ithaca, and the other from the land of the Phaeacians. We hear neither one speak -Phemius is silent until the closing books of the text when he pleads for his life. As with … Continue reading Phemius and Demodocus: Two Bards Considered

The Iliad and the Odyssey: Two Proems Compared

"Rage" is the first word presented to us in the Iliad. The Goddess, not the muse, is commanded to sing of the rage of Peleus's son Achilles. Which Goddess does Homer invoke? We are not given a clear answer, however we can acknowledge that this Goddess remains anonymous, not unlike Odysseus at the outset of … Continue reading The Iliad and the Odyssey: Two Proems Compared

Persuading Achilles: Books IX, XVI, XXIV Considered

"Triumphant Achilles" by Franz von Matsch In Book IX of the Iliad, the Achaeans have been stricken with Panic ("panicos" meaning pertaining to Pan, the god of shepherds and wild animals). In the absence of Achilles on the battlefield, Hector has beaten back the Achaeans nearly to their ships. All that is left is to … Continue reading Persuading Achilles: Books IX, XVI, XXIV Considered