Posts Tagged by Rhapsody 20
|August 3, 2017||By Gregory Nagy listed under Homer commentary|
2017.08.03 | By Gregory Nagy
Rhapsody 20 reveals the darkest thoughts of Penelope. There she is, lying awake in bed, unable to fall asleep, and now she starts to think the unthinkable, tearfully spilling her private thoughts by praying to Artemis: I want to die in the worst way, she confides to the goddess, so why don’t you shoot me with your arrows, putting me out of my misery? Or maybe my death should be even worse? Penelope is now haunted by horror stories about unfortunate girls who thought they were getting married but who instead became servants to infernal Furies. She cries for them and she cries for herself, thinking of a dream she had about sleeping with Odysseus, who was looking the way he had looked twenty years ago. Her crying carries over till daybreak, and her laments are overheard from not that far away by Odysseus, who is having his own dark thoughts about the vengeance he so passionately desires.
|December 9, 2016||By Gregory Nagy listed under Homer commentary|
2016.12.09 | By Gregory Nagy
By now Achilles has a new set of armor, and he is ready to fight the Trojans. But his first major opponent seems to be a distraction. At least, our initial impression may lead us to think that there is a distraction going on here. The first major opponent of Achilles in Iliad 20 is Aeneas, hero of epic traditions that eventually became absorbed into the Aeneid of Virgil. Is this hero, we may ask, a truly worthy opponent of Achilles? Are the epic traditions that figure this son of Aphrodite / Venus truly worthy of the epic that is the Homeric Iliad? Once we examine more closely the oldest Greek epic traditions of Aeneas, it will become clear that this hero is indeed a most important opponent of Achilles, in that he represents ancient Greek epic traditions that are different from and antithetical to the epic tradition that prevailed in the Homeric Iliad as we know it. Not only does Aeneas challenge Achilles: even the epic traditions that figure Aeneas will challenge the epic traditions that figure Achilles. To say it another way, Aeneas represents a proto-Aeneid that challenges the proto-Iliad of Achilles. What makes Aeneas and his Aeneid—or, better, Aeneids—such a formidable challenge to Achilles is the enormous political prestige of the epic tradition that backs up Aeneas. By virtue of being the son of Aphrodite/Venus, Aeneas possesses a genealogical and dynastic political charisma that threatens to overshadow the purely epic charisma of his Iliadic opponent Achilles.