Re: RARA-AVIS: THE ILIAD - Dirty Tricks Are Good

From: Michael Robison (
Date: 04 Dec 2003

Jesse wrote: To live, to survive to out-trick your opponent is the only good for them, thus Odysseus is the most "heroic" of all the Greeks of the two epics, surviving the long journey home even though he is the most underhanded and trickiest sonofabitch of them all! I think that's one of the reasons its so good.

****************** I finished THE ILIAD at lunch today and was impressed with it. Your comments about the difference between the Greek and Christian outlook kept me thinking throughout the book. Homer's characters are not Greek ideals, so it was hard for me at times to differentiate between character flaws which Homer had no problem leaving unresolving and characteristics he found totally acceptable. Some interesting insights came out of it, especially in the parallels between Greek and Christian thought. It came to me that all people need to find some comfort, some justification, some juicy morsel to snatch from death's icy grip. Christians can get a lot. They can die as martyrs and then go to heaven. The Greeks, like you stated, all go to Hades, so they are limited to kicking some serious ass, going out in a blaze of glory, and living on in the memories of others. The first battle is for land. The last is for myth.

The I.A. Richards version I have was very readable and smooth. The short summaries of a couple of the books that were left out made me wish he had included them.

On to THE ODYSSEY now, then Virgil.



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