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    Worldlit2 Worldlit2 Document Transcript

    • Miranda, Eron John D. World Literature TTH 5:00-6:30 SV 204 1. Judgment of Paris When the dark beauty, Hecuba, the wife of King Priam, was pregnant, she had a terrifying dream. She dreamed she gave birth to a firebrand and awoke screaming that the city of Troy was burning to the ground. Alarmed by this, her husband consulted his son, the seer Aisacros, who told him the baby would one day cause the destruction of his country. Accordingly Priam ordered that the child should be put to death. So, after the boy was born, he was given to the chief herdsman, Agelaus, to be killed. Agelaus left the child on Mount Ida to die from exposure but, returning five days later, found the boy still alive and took him home, where he brought him up secretly. As a young man, Paris became noted for his extreme beauty, wit and prowess. At about this time the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, the hero and the sea-goddess, was celebrated on Mount Pelion. All the gods and goddesses were invited, with the noted exception of Eris, the Goddess of Strife, who was hideous and disagreeable. Angered at being left out of the nuptuals she strode into the middle of the wedding feast and threw a golden apple into the assembled company. It landed between the three most powerful goddesses, Hera, Athene and Aphrodite. Picking it up, Zeus found it was inscribed ‘For the Fairest’. Wisely deciding not to judge between the three deities himself, Zeus nominated the beautiful Paris as arbiter, but first he sent Hermes to enquire whether he would be willing to act as judge. Paris agreed and so a time was set for the three goddesses to appear to him on Mount Ida. When the day came, Paris sat himself on a boulder and waited with beating heart for the arrival of the three great deities. All at once a great light appeared which covered the entire mountain. At first Paris was blinded, but then the goddesses cloaked their light in cloud so that he was able to look at them. First Hera, the great queen, approached him and flaunted her beauty in front of him. Radiant with glory she made him a promise. If he awarded her the apple, she would grant him wealth and power. He would rule over the greatest kingdom on earth. Paris felt the excitement of this and his ambition rose up and yearned for her gift. After that, grey-eyed Athene approached him, drawing near and bending down, so that he might look into the magical depths of her eyes. She promised him victory in all battles, together with glory and wisdom - the three most precious gifts a man could have. This time Paris felt his mind leap with excitement and with desire for the riches of knowledge and the glory of prowess. Then it was the turn of Aphrodite. Hanging back a little, she tilted her head so that her hair fell forward, concealing a blush on her face. Then she loosened the girdle of her robe and beneath it, Paris caught sight of her perfectly formed breast, white as alabaster.
    • ‘Paris,’ she said, and her voice seemed to sing inside his head. ‘Give me the apple and in return I will give you the gift of love. You will possess the most beautiful woman in the land, a woman equal to me in perfection of form. With her you will experience the greatest delights of love-making. Choose me, Paris, and she will be yours.’ Then Paris, overpowered by the intoxication of her words and her beauty, found himself handing her the apple without even pausing to reflect on his decision, guided only by the strength of his desire. So it was that Paris awarded the Apple of Discord to Aphrodite, and Hera and Athena became his implacable enemies. True to her promise, Aphrodite gave him Helen, the most beautiful woman living on the earth at that time - but, in order to enjoy her, he had to snatch her from her powerful husband, Menelaus. So began the terrible ten-year’ war between the Trojans and the Greeks in which many a brave hero lost his life, including Paris himself, and after which the great hero Odysseus wandered the seas for a further ten long years before returning home. 2. Death of Patroclus Patroclus engages in battle, slaying many Trojans. Of the Trojans that he slew, one sealed his fate: Sarpedon, the Trojan son of Zeus. Patroclus disobeys Achilles and sets off in pursuit of the Trojans retreating back to the gates of Troy. At the urging of Apollo, Hector tries to charge Patroclus. Patroclus kills Cebriones', Hector's charioteer, and both Patroclus and Hector fight over the armour of Cebriones. In the midst of all of this chaos, Apollo sneaks up behind Patroclus and beats his helmet from his head, breaks his spear, and unties his corselet. Patroclus, now vulnerable, is then stabbed in the back with a spear from Euphorbus. Now dazed, unarmed and wounded, Patroclus soon finds himself in combat with Hector. With the blow he had taken from Apollo that had scattered his wits, the lack of armour, and the spear wound, it goes without saying that Patroclus was no match for Hector. Hector kills Patroclus (but not before informing Hector of his impending death at the hand of Achilles) and robs the body of its armor and dons it himself. 3. Wrath of Achilles The wrath of Achilles defines him, and the entire plot of the Iliad unwinds from its vicissitudes. Achilles’ wrath is singular, flattening him as a character, making him nearly unidimensional (Achilles does have his other moments in which we see another side barely break through), but its focus and unidimensionality make him an unbeatable warrior. His monolithic quality makes him wrath’s embodiment; or, put another way, literally transfigures him into wrath. He becomes, as it were, a mortal god, defined by a singular characteristic, much like Ares is the personification of war, or Athena, wisdom or cunning. Unbeatable in combat, yet ultimately mortal. It is his greatest trait, and his ultimate doom, bringing down everyone with him into Hades.
    • This wrath motivates the story. The plot unfolds based upon the direction that Achilles points his wrath. As the introductory stanza indicates, he points it first to his own side, Agamemnon, the son of Atreus. He is the king of Mycenae (Mykenai), and the king of kings, the leader of all the Achaeans in this war. When he took the captive Briseis from Achilles, Achilles turned his wrath toward Agamemnon, refusing to fight. And, without this force of nature, wrath incarnate, fighting, the Trojans, led by their Tamer of Forces, Hector, began to push the Achaeans back to their ships. Hector, like all of the Trojans, is really the "Breaker of Horses" but I like to consider this in the aspect of taming wild forces, bringing them into civilized society, which Troy itself represents, in contrast to the wild force and fury of unattached Achilles. Hector is a much more interesting character in my opinion than Achilles. Hector clearly is the second greatest warrior in the Iliad, but unlike Achilles who is unidimensionally wrathful, Hector is multidimensional. He is Hector, the prince of Troy, the beloved son of old King Priam, devoted husband to Andromache, a father with a young child, and responsible for the safety of the entire city of Troy. They all depend upon his strength, his courage, and his leadership. He is universally beloved, and considered universally kind. Fighting for a cause that he does not believe in—the folly of judgment of Paris, his younger brother—he is now forced to defend all those he loves, and fights to the death to do it. 4. The making of Achilles’ armor Achilles learns from Antilochus, the son of Nestor and his dear friend, that Patroclus had been slain and his armour taken. Achilles cries aloud and Thetis, his mother, hears him. She goes to her son and asks him why he is weeping and what sorrow had befallen him. Achilles explains to his mother that Patroclus--whom he had valued more than anyone and loved more than his own life-- had fallen, and that he had been stripped of the armour that his father Peleus had given him. Achilles then tells her that she will have to deal with the death of a son that will never return home, for he cannot continue living until Hector falls by his spear, thereby avenging the death of Patroclus. Thetis tells her son that death awaits him after Hector is slain, and knowing that he cannot return to battle without his armour, tells him that she will bring him armour crafted by Hephaestus the following morning. Thetis travels to Olympus to meet with Hephaestus. She is warmly welcomed by Hephaestus and his wife, and Hephaestus tells his wife of how Thetis and her sister had saved him after Hera, his mother, had thrown him from Olympus. Thetis tells Hephaestus how Patroclus had fallen, and with him, Achilles' armour. She begs him to fashion her son new armour and the blacksmith god agrees, promising to craft armour that would amaze the eye of any that beheld it. And he did. The armour was saidto have been so glorious that Achilles looked like Ares, the god of war himself.
    • 5. Farewell of Hector and Andromache After leaving Paris, Hector goes to see his wife, Andromache, and their infant son, Astyanax. She pleads with him not to return to battle, explaining that all of her other relatives have been killed by the Greeks and he is all she has left. Even as she begs, Andromache knows that Hector will return to the battlefield. When Hector turns to his son to take him in his arms, the child is frightened by the plumes on his helmet. Showing his sensitive side, Hector removes the helmet and takes the baby into his arms. He then prays to Zeus that his son will be great. Then with a final farewell, Hector returns to the battle, accompanied by Paris. 6. Ransoming of Hector’s body Achilles was mad with sorrow and anger for the death of his friend. Thenthey drenched with wine the great pile of wood, which was thirty yards long and broad, and set fire to it, and the fire blazed all through the night and died down in the morning. They put the white bones of Patroclus in a golden casket, and laid it in the hut of Achilles, who said that, when he died, they must burn his body, and mix the ashes with the ashes of his friend, and build over it a chamber of stone, and cover the chamber with a great hill of earth, and set a pillar of stone above it. This is one of the hills on the plain of Troy, but the pillar has fallen from the tomb, long ago. Then, as the custom was, Achilles held games--chariot races, foot races, boxing, wrestling, and archery--in honour of Patroclus. Ulysses won the prize for the foot race, and for the wrestling, so now his wound must have been healed. But Achilles still kept trailing Hector's dead body each day round the hill that had been raised for the tomb of Patroclus, till the Gods in heaven were angry, and bade Thetis tell her son that he must give back the dead body to Priam, and take ransom for it, and they sent a messenger to Priam to bid him redeem the body of his son. It was terrible for Priam to have to go and humble himself before Achilles, whose hands had been red with the blood of his sons, but he did not disobey the Gods. He opened his chests, and took out twenty-four beautiful embroidered changes of raiment; and he weighed out ten heavy bars, or talents, of gold, and chose a beautiful golden cup, and he called nine of his sons, Paris, and Helenus, and Deiphobus, and the rest, saying, "Go, ye bad sons, my shame; would that Hector lived and all of you were dead!" for sorrow made him angry; "go, and get ready for me a wain, and lay on it these treasures." So they harnessed mules to the wain, and placed in it the treasures, and, after praying, Priam drove through the night to the hut of Achilles. In he went, when no man looked for him, and kneeled to Achilles, and kissed his terrible death-dealing hands. "Have pity on me, and fear the Gods, and give me back my dead son," he said, "and remember thine own father. Have pity on me, who have endured to do what no man born has ever done before, to kiss the hands that slew my sons." Then Achilles remembered his own father, far away, who now was old and weak: and he wept, and Priam wept with him, and then Achilles raised Priam from his knees and spoke kindly to him, admiring how beautiful he still was in his old age, and Priam himself wondered at the beauty of mAchilles. And Achilles thought how Priam had long been rich and happy, like his own father, Peleus, and now old age and weakness and sorrow were laid upon both of them, for Achilles knew that his own day of death was at hand, even at the doors. So Achilles bade the women make ready the body of Hector for burial, and they clothed him in a white mantle that Priam had brought, and laid him in the wain; and supper was made ready, and Priam and Achilles ate and drank together, and the women spread a bed for Priam, who would not stay long, but stole away back to Troy while Achilles was asleep. All the women came out to meet him, and to lament for Hector.
    • Theycarried the body into the house of Andromache and laid it on a bed, and the women gathered around, and each in turn sang her song over the great dead warrior. His mother bewailed him, and his wife, and Helen of the fair hands, clad in dark mourning raiment, lifted up her white arms, and said: "Hector, of all my brethren in Troy thou wert the dearest, since Paris brought me hither. Would that ere that day I had died! For this is now the twentieth year since I came, and in all these twenty years never heard I a word from thee that was bitter and unkind; others might upbraid me, thy sisters or thy mother, for thy father was good to me as if he had been my own; but then thou wouldst restrain them that spoke evil by the courtesy of thy heart and thy gentle words. Ah! woe for thee, and woe for me, whom all men shudder at, for there is now none in wide Troyland to be my friend like thee, my brother and my friend!" So Helen lamented, but now was done all that men might do; a great pile of wood was raised, and Hector was burned, and his ashes were placed in a golden urn, in a dark chamber of stone, within a hollow hill. 7. Death of Achilles and Fall of Troy Achilles dies during the Trojan War (but after the action of the Iliad) mortally wounded by an arrow shot by Paris. Ovid (Metamorphoses 12) has Apollo urge Paris to shoot at Achilles and then guide his aim. Other writers allow Paris to do the shooting (or stabbing) alone, or Apollo, or Apollo disguised as Paris. Apollodorus and others say the wound was in Achilles' heel. Not all the authors subscribed to the idea that Achilles was only mortal in his heel, especially since it doesn't make a lot of sense to think that an ordinary wound in the ankle would be lethal. The bronze man Talos, however, did die when the nail in his ankle was removed and all the life-giving fluid running through his body leaked out. That Achilles' mother was a nymph made Achilles a demi-god, at best. Her attempts to make him immortal by burning or immersion in the River Styx were obviously not entirely successful. Despite losing virtually all of its greatest champions, Troy still would not fall. The city’s walls, built by Apollo and Poseidon, were impenetrable. Odysseus came up with an ingenious plan to get inside the city. With Athena’s help, Epeius, an artisan, constructed an enormous wooden horse. Led by Odysseus, a small army of the boldest Greek warriors hid themselves inside. The Greek fleet then sailed away—but only as far as the far side of the offshore island Tenedos. When the Trojans found the horse, which had an inscription dedicating it to Athena, some wanted to burn it or push it off a cliff. But others argued that if they brought it inside the city walls and used it to replace the stolen Palladium, the horse would bring them luck. The prophets Cassandra and Laocoön explicitly warned the Trojans that Greek troops were hidden inside the horse—but of course no one believed them. Laocoön underscored his warning by hurling his spear at the wooden horse. At that moment, two sea serpents rose out of the sea and attacked Laocoön’s sons. The serpents killed the boys and Laocoön,
    • who rushed to his children’s defense. Though Athena sent these serpents to shut him up for good and thereby bring about the destruction of Troy, the Trojans who witnessed this horrifying tragedy assumed that the priest was being punished for desecrating the wooden horse. With the Trojans already inclined to bring the wooden horse inside the city, the Greek Sinon gave them the last push they needed. The Trojans found him outside the Trojan walls, with his arms tied and his clothes torn to shreds. Apparently enraged at his comrades, Sinon claimed that he had escaped being sacrificed to Athena, who had become angry at the Greeks for stealing the Palladium. The Greeks, Sinon added, had built the enormous horse to appease the goddess—and had designed it so that it would not fit through the city’s gates because they knew that placing it in the citadel would bring the Trojans victory. Harming it, Sinon warned, would turn the wrath of Athena on the Trojans. Persuaded by Sinon’s lies, the Trojans breached their own city’s walls in order to secure the wooden horse. That night, Helen—suspicious of treachery—walked around the horse and, mimicking the voices of their wives, called out the names of some of the most renowned Greek warriors. But Odysseus kept the men quiet. After the Trojans had fallen into bed following a drunken celebration of their impending victory, Sinon freed the Greek warriors and sent a beacon to the Greek fleet, which quickly returned. Those inside opened the gates and the Greeks seized the city in a single bloody night. The Greeks did get their comeuppance, though. The sacrilegious massacre of the Trojans and the desecration of the temples angered the Gods so much, they decided not to let the Greeks return home. The Gods besieged the returning Greek fleet with storms, which wrecked nearly every single ship. It was little consolation to the Trojans, though, as their city had been burned to the ground.
    • 12 Olympus Gods and Goddesses