Monday, June 25, 2007

The Iliad

The Iliad by Homer, translated by Robert Fagles

I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. Part of that was because I've read The Odyssey before -- probably this was a better experience because I'm older now and the translation was most likely better. It still felt quite long in the middle, but at the beginning and end things were actually happening, and it was good to read a first-hand account of some of the mythology I've heard of.

Now I just wish I had a class to discuss it with. Melanie, will you at least discuss it with me? The part of the worldview that bothered me the most was the concept of fate. Not fate in and of itself, I suppose, but the way people would absolve themselves of responsibility because of fate. Or, perhaps more often, because some god caused them to act in a certain way. Sometimes you just wish Helen would quit whining about how it'd be better if she'd died before this had happened and commit suicide, you know? The "overweening" regard for one's own glory (Achilles especially, of course) was pretty disgusting, too. At least that desire could conceivably motivate people to noble deeds. Most of the time it didn't.

At least, as opposed to most modernistic/post-modernistic worldviews, it did a good job of explaining the universe and was internally consistent. Just not moral. And the gods were an active part of the world, although the nature of those gods left quite a lot to be desired!

Those are my initial thoughts. Comments?

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