Much of the criticism of Homer's Iliad is focused on the events of the story: the significance of the images, symbols, the role of the Greek Gods, the characters of the story. It seems that many of the critics have forgotten the very important role of Homer as the narrator of the events. His narration undermines the story. He is the medium through which the story is told. Perhaps the ambiguity of not knowing exactly who Homer is, and the fact that it was an oral story long before it was written in the form it is today, is the cause of oversight of the narrative qualities of Homer's Iliad by many critics.
The narration of the story has, however, been noted as a classic example of in medias res. "The term is derived from Horace, literally meaning `in the midst of things'. It is applied to the literary technique of opening a story in the middle of the action and then applying information about the beginning of the action through flashbacks and other devices for exposition" (Holman 247). This term only partially describes the narrative of The Iliad, and seldom do critics attempt to understand the reason behind the use of in medias res. A thorough description of the initial narrative act and the ideologies that determined the narrative act can be beneficial in interpreting the story. With the help of modern schools of criticism, it may be easier to describe his narrative act. There are many schools to choose from, as the recent number of them have increased dramatically in the last several decades (Miller 67). I will borrow some narrative concepts from the Formalists, who are more concerned with the structure of the text rather than the meanings of text. Then I will draw conclusions about the ideologies, "..The ways in whic...
... middle of paper ...
...a god that knows the fates of all.
Booth, Wayne C. The Rhetoric of Fiction. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. 1983.
Eagleton, Terry. "Literature and the Rise of English" Literature in the Modern World. Dennis Walder, ed. Oxford University Press, N.Y., 1990. 21-27.
Fagles, Robert. "The Iliad". The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces. Maynard Mack, general editor--6th ed. W.W. Norton and Company, N.Y. 1992. 98-208.
Genette, Gerard. "Order in Narrative". Literature in the Modern World. Dennis Walder, ed. Oxford University Press, N.Y. 1990. 142-151.
Holman, C. Hugh and William Harmon. A Handbook to Literature. MacMillan Publishing Company, N.Y. 1992.
Miller, J. Hillis. "Narrative". Critical Terms for Literary Study. Lentricchia, Frank and Thomas McLaughlin, eds. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. 1990. 66-79.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- There are different forms and examples of exemplary and classic literature which have been deemed as significant works that are highly esteemed worldwide. These examples of literature would awe the world with how much literary skill they entailed when they were composed and written: attention to details as to formation of characters, the most crafty of plots, the most eloquent speeches and lines, the most astounding of twists of scenes, and most of all, the most universal and meaningful of themes.... [tags: Honor, Homer, Iliad]
2018 words (5.8 pages)
- The Gods in Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey The stories told in the Iliad and Odyssey are based on stories handed down over several generations, for they preserve (as we have seen) memories of an already quiet far distant past. The two pomes show clear connection in their language and style, in the manner in which their incidents presented, and in the combination of agreement with level, which distinguish their creation. The work was written by one author but gave two diverse views on the nature of the Olympian Gods, their relationship to humankind, and the general lot of mortals throughout their all too brief lives.... [tags: Homer The Iliad The Odyssey]
1407 words (4 pages)
- The Role Of Zeus in Homer's Iliad In the era of Homer, divine intervention was thought to be typical, and one of his foremost works, The Iliad, reflects this. Nearly all of the Greek gods are involved in the outcome of the Trojan War, which happens to be the background story of this epic poem. The gods are used by Homer to add twists on an otherwise standard plot of war. I shall concentrate on Zeus, however, and reflect on his actions and their outcomes on the Trojan War, and more importantly, the story of The Iliad.... [tags: Iliad essays]
1952 words (5.6 pages)
- Hector is the True Hero of Iliad In today's society, a man's mind is his most important tool. In the past, however, a man's courage and strength is all that he had to keep him alive. In Homer's Iliad, courage is valued over honesty and even faithfulness to one's wife. If a hero is the most courageous man in the bunch, then Hector is more heroic than Achilles and King of the Myrmidons. Hector is the true hero of Homer's Iliad. Although Achilles and Hector are both leaders of men, Hector leads with a mature sense that gives his men reason to respect him.... [tags: Homer’s Iliad Essays]
2380 words (6.8 pages)
Deus Ex Machina And FaDeus ex Machina and Fate vs. Dutyin Homer's The Iliad and Virgil's The Aeneidte Vs. Duty
- Deus ex Machina and Fate vs. Dutyin Homer's The Iliad and Virgil's The Aeneid The actions taken by the gods in the works of Homer's The Iliad and Virgil's The Aeneid are numerous and important. Both works gain their momentum from the activities of the gods, and without these heavenly actors the two stories would quickly become stagnant and fizzle out into inaction. The central divine driving force in both of the works is the wrath of two female gods: Juno(Hera:Greek) and Minerva(Athena:Greek). These two are responsible for much of the driving force in the two stories as they settle their vendetta with the Paris and the Trojans.... [tags: Iliad Aeneid Homer Virgil]
1032 words (2.9 pages)
- Importance of Male Relationships in Homer's Iliad The most significant relationship in Homer's Iliad is the friendship between Achilles and Patroclus. Other male relationships play major roles in the epic and can be directly related to that of Achilles and Patroclus. The brotherhood of Agamemnon and Menelaos, and of Hector and Paris demonstrate their loyalty. They fight because of love for each other throughout the war. Achilles, however, is not driven to fight or even bother with the war until his friendship with Patroclus is broken.... [tags: Iliad essays]
1628 words (4.7 pages)
- The Immortal Heroes of Homer’s Iliad In Homer’s Iliad, a warrior can only attain heroism and immortality by embracing an early death. Jean-Pierre Vernant describes this paradox in his essay, “A ‘Beautiful Death’ and the Disfigured Corpse in Homeric Epic.” According to Vernant, heroes accept the fact that life is short and “devote themselves completely and single-mindedly to war, adventure, glory, and death” (53). 1 Curiously, this is because heroes overcome death only when they embrace it (57).... [tags: Iliad essays]
1412 words (4 pages)
- The Importance of Nestor in Homer's Iliad The role of the character Nestor in Homer's Iliad is one often overlooked. Nestor is not only an Achaian counselor, respected and listened to due to his age, but he also “serves as a link between the peace of home the Achaians are leaving and the barbarism of war to which they are succumbing”(Richardson 24). Nestor incites action, instills values and motivates the characters to keep a balance between this peace and barbarism. Nestor first appears in book one during an argument between Achilles and Agamemnon over Briseis, a war prize belonging to Achilles.... [tags: Iliad essays]
1345 words (3.8 pages)
- Immense Heroism in Homer’s Iliad The Iliad opens with "the anger of Peleus' son, Achilleus," (1.1) and closes with the "burial of Hektor, breaker of horses" (24.804).1 The bracketing of the poem with descriptions of these two men suggests both their importance and their connection to one another. They lead parallel lives as the top fighters in their respective armies, and, as the poem progresses, their lives and deaths become more and more closely linked. They each struggle to fulfill the heroic ideal, and they both grapple with temptations that lure them away from heroism.... [tags: Iliad essays]
1673 words (4.8 pages)
- The Role of Women in Homer’s Iliad Homer’s Iliad is undoubtedly focused on its male characters: Achilles, primarily, but also Hector and Agamemnon. Nevertheless, it seems that the most crucial characters in the epic are female. Homer uses the characters of Thetis, Andromache, and Helen as a basis for comparison to the male characters. Homer wants his audience to see and understand the folly of his male characters in choosing war over peace, aggression over kindness, and honor over family. While the behavior of these characters clearly speaks for itself, the contrasting attitudes and behaviors of the female characters proffer an alternative; in comparison, the reader can hardly fail to conc... [tags: Iliad Thetis Andromache Helen]
791 words (2.3 pages)