✪✪✪ The Literary Analysis Of Homers Iliad And Odyssey

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The Literary Analysis Of Homers Iliad And Odyssey



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Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey: Class 1

Despite the help of Aeolus, King of the Winds, Odysseus and his crew were blown off course again just as home was almost in sight. They narrowly escaped from the cannibal Laestrygones , only to encounter the witch-goddess Circe soon after. Odysseus made a sacrifice to the dead and summoned the spirit of the old prophet Tiresias to advise him, as well as the spirits of several other famous men and women and that of his own mother, who had died of grief at his long absence and who gave him disturbing news of the situation in his own household.

Advised once more by Circe on the remaining stages of their journey, they skirted the land of the Sirens, passed between the many-headed monster Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis , and, blithely ignoring the warnings of Tiresias and Circe , hunted down the sacred cattle of the sun god Helios. For this sacrilege, they were punished by a shipwreck in which all but Odysseus himself drowned. By this point, Homer has brought us up to date, and the remainder of the story is told straightforwardly in chronological order. Having listened with rapt attention to his story, the Phaeacians agree to help Odysseus get home, and they finally deliver him one night to a hidden harbour on his home island of Ithaca.

Disguised as a wandering beggar and telling a fictitious tale of himself, Odysseus learns from a local swineherd how things stand in his household. With more help from Athena, an archery competition is arranged by Penelope for the suitors, which the disguised Odysseus easily wins, and he then promptly slaughters all the other suitors. William F. Wyatt, Loeb Library A like portion has he who stays back, and he who wars his best, and in one honor are held both the coward and the brave; death comes alike to the idle man and to him who works much. Nor has it brought me any profit that I suffered woes at heart, constantly staking my life to fight. Stephen Mitchell We all get just the same portion, whether we hang back or fight on with all our strength in the front lines of battle; cowards and brave men are treated with equal respect.

I have had not the slightest profit from all the pain I have suffered in battle, constantly risking my life. Like a mother bird that brings to her unfledged nestlings any morsels she finds, and herself goes hungry, I have spent many sleepless nights, and my days have been bloody battling men who fought for the sake of their sweethearts. Mitchell, following his priorities, does his thing by rewording what Achilles says in and dropping the digression about ultimate reward without any loss of meaning.

Mitchell then merges lines so that the ten-line passage ends up as nine lines in a style that is rapid, plain and direct in thought and expression, and with a fidelity to Homer that is similar to the translations which aim to keep close to the original Greek. Where he goes wrong, however, is changing the subject of the first line from portion to the plural pronoun we.

There is no we. Achilles is complaining that he got no portion of the loot and no respect. Everyone else in the room still has their fair portion, including Patroclos. Anthony Verity , a British scholar, produced a line-by-line prose translation published by the Oxford University Press in Anthony Verity The man who just stands there and the man who fights bravely get the same share; coward and brave are equally honoured; a man dies just the same, whether he has done much or nothing, I have endured pain in my heart, always risking my life in battle, but I get no more share than others , not even a little.

Verity is English. They invented the language and are allowed to spell the words any way they like. That is why he is upset. This mistranslation is another attempt to convey the mistaken idea that Achilles is disillusioned with the values of his society, an idea that can only be conveyed with a mistranslation. Barry Powell , a scholar at the University of Wisconsin, produced a translation of the Iliad in , also published by the Oxford University Press.

Powell states that he tries to put into English in a lean direct manner what the Greek really says, avoiding modern sensibilities and sticking to the Homer style of repetition and epithets. To that end, he presents a stacked-prose translation with an interesting style. This goes on line after line. Barry Powell The same lot comes to him who holds back as to him who fights eagerly.

In like honor are the shirker and the brave. Death is the same reward for the man who does much and for him who does nothing. It is of no advantage to me that I have suffered pains in my heart, ever risking my life in these contendings. Like a bird who brings tidbits to her chicks, whatever she can find, but goes herself without, so have I spent many sleepless nights and bloody days passed fighting with men on account of their wives. But Powell is wrong! Death is not the reward. Long life is the reward for staying, eternal renown and a worthy portion of the loot is the reward for battling. Homer has Achilles complain that his reward was unjustly taken. His stated priorities are: a line-by-line adherence to the original with declaimable lines of 5 or 6 stresses.

He is certainly less faithful than Lattimore. Peter Green Equal the lot of the skulker and the bravest fighter; courage and cowardice rank the same in honor; death comes alike to the idler and to the hardest worker. Just as a bird brings back to her unfledged chicks whatever morsel she can find, yet herself will suffer a heap of troubles, so I have kept vigil many a sleepless night, and spent bloodstained days engaged in battle, fighting warriors for their women. Twelve cities of men. In lines , Green fails at his aim to keep a line-by-line adherence and produce easily recited lines. These six lines are units of oral composition designed to be recited as units, but Green jumbles these together. The start of the bird simile that starts line , Green turns into the ending for the previous line.

For Homer, a cogent Line ends the thread of thought for the whole passage. Line then starts a new direction of thought about how Achilles has sacked twelve cities. For no apparent reason, Green divides a feeble rendition of between the previous and following lines, making all three lines less sensible when recited, while Lattimore, whom Green professes to emulate, maintains the integrity of lines Caroline Alexander , a classicist scholar and writer, also came out with a line-by-line prose translation in , which aims to emulate and improve on the Lattimore version.

She states that she has: tried to carve the English as close to the bone of the Greek as possible and to follow unforced rhythms of nature speech. Her lines are therefore often shorter, some very short, but some are long, such as line in the passage below. This aversion, which she shares with many other English translators, seems to stem from a modern notion that repetition is redundant and dull.

In the passage below, Alexander conforms to the standard mistranslations: fate for portion , coward and warrior for bad and good , and profit instead of portion. She also conforms to the mistaken interpretation that Achilles becomes disillusioned with the values of his society. Caroline Alexander the fate is the same if a man hangs back, and if he battles greatly, in equal honor are both coward and warrior; and they die alike, both the man who has done nothing and he who has. There is a lesson in Bronze Age morality here.

Two other embassies had already occurred in the Iliad by this point. Odysseus and Menelaos had come to Troy to ask for the return of Helen. The recompense offered was continued peaceful relations with the Argives. The Trojans refused, making them accomplices to the crime of Paris and earning them as well the vengeance of Menelaos backed up by the wrath of Hera and Athene. Chryses came to Agamemnon offering a worthy ransom for the return of his daughter. But Agamemnon refused, earning him the vengeance of Chryses backed up by the wrath of Apollo. Now Agamemnon himself sends an embassy. With Achilles refusing, amends cannot be made. That puts him on the wrong side of Zeus, not a good place to be, and he will suffer for it. Agamemnon needed to accept the ransom and release the daughter of Chryses, the Trojans needed to return Helen and Achilles needed to yield his wrath, though all would have lost something they personally desired more.

There is a fourth embassy and offer of ransom at the end of the Iliad. This one is accepted and the gods are appeased. Achilles himself says that his heart tells him to join his friends, but his wrath will not let him. His threat to sail home the next day is a bluff. He was nursing his wrath and holding out for a better offer, one that would humiliate Agamemnon in person. Any who thinks it was right for Achilles to refuse should consider the consequences: the next day for Achilles was the worst day of his life. The Iliad begins with a prelude of five lines, which announces the subject of the epic with the first word and then summarizes the theme in an invocation to the Goddess of epic song.

Every translation gets these opening lines wrong, leading to a loss of meaning and artistry right from the start. Below I provide a literal word-for-word translation of these five lines:. Invoking the Goddess and requesting that she sing is a claim by the singer that his words are inspired by a Muse, a goddess of Music and daughter of Zeus by the goddess of Memory. Such introductions in such a manner are traditional for this oral art. My literal translation above preserves the original form of every word and the original order with three slight exceptions in lines 2 and 4.

Below I present ten leading published translations of this five-line prelude to show how all ignore the poetic syntax of Homer and reorder the words in the same prosaic way. A mindset for convention also leads to the same mistranslations of five crucial words. Let us begin by specifying these five words:. Wrath line 1 : The Greek word menin always and only describes a terrible vengeful anger exclusive to gods or to Achilles, who is a demigod, and receives the backing of Zeus, so that the wrath of Achilles becomes the wrath of Zeus.

Readers thus cannot recognize the special and awesome nature of menin. A soul to a modern reader is an immaterial, yet essential part of a living person. It is imagined as the last breath of a person, and is created at the moment of death when the last breath crosses the threshold of teeth and becomes cold. It may appear like the mist that forms in cold temperatures from an exhaled breath. That phrase has a very different meaning from risking his life.

The anachronism in forces adulteration of There is no reason for this problem. To the modern idea that separates the body and soul there is a parallel one which sees death as a loss of life. Modern Western military men are loathe to leave their dead on the battlefield. Soldiers consider this a matter of honor and often put their lives at risk to recover a dead comrade. The word in ancient Greek has the same meaning as it does in modern English. The word describes: 1 a man admired for renowned deeds and qualities; 2 A principal character in a story. Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be they name.

Thy kingdom come, thy WILL be done, on earth as it is in heaven. This is not what Homer refers to in line The plan of Zeus is the motive that drives the plot. It is very knowable and achieved in a few days. The audience wonders at first what the plan is, but that is revealed lines later at the end of the first Book, when Thetis, a sea goddess, the mother of Achilles, comes to Zeus on Olympus to ask that he fulfill a favor for her in return for a favor she had done for him. Earlier in Book One, a wrathful Achilles had pledged to withdraw from the fighting after he was dishonored by Agamemnon, the Achaean king.

Zeus pledged to fulfill this plan by nodding his head, a gesture that cannot be taken back or be untrue or unfulfilled. Fulfillment of the plan thus became a cosmic necessity. Measures that must be taken to achieve it drive the plot of the Iliad and bring grief to many on both sides, especially to Achilles himself. These are the important passages:. Later, at the start of Book Two, after all had gone to bed for the night:.

This is the plan that Homer refers to in line This course has two primary features:. Such a prosaic ordering of words is what makes translations sound so prosaic, a common complaint from readers. A further issue is the choice of verbs. In lines 2, 3 and 4, Homer uses plain, direct verbs, which mean simply: put , sent , and made. The dignity of Homeric verse and source of its power is being rapid, plain and direct. Notice below how many translators mar this nobility and distract from its effect by substituting extravagant, overdramatic verbs. No version of the Iliad in English has ever before tried to present what Homer actually said in these first five lines. In the published translations below, watch for the five mistranslated words and how the strict prosaic routine makes every translation much more like each other than like Homer.

Wyatt, Loeb Library The wrath sing, goddess, of the son of Peleus, Achilles, the accursed wrath which brought countless sorrows upon the Achaeans, and sent down to Hades many valiant souls of warriors , and made the men themselves to be the spoils for dogs and birds of every kind, and thus the will of Zeus was brought to fulfillment. Wyatt has translated the opening line exactly literally, which shows how easy that is. Not one other translators below does so. After the first line, however, Wyatt follows the prosaic route, but found a clever solution to the pronoun in line 4 the men themselves , a solution no other translator below will copy.

Big words are his style and meet his self-imposed syllable quota: devastation, thousandfold, multitudes, delicate feasting, accomplished, a trait for which he has been praised and criticized. Fitzgerald announces from the start that he does not intend to translate the Iliad, but rather to rewrite the epic in iambic pentameter using his own words and art. His ordering of words, however, follow the prosaic route, and his lines read like prose. Compare the lines of Fagles with the prose of Wyatt and it becomes clear that Fagles wrote in prose, which he then stacked.

This is not a criticism of Fagles, but of Wyatt, who should also have stacked his prose. Stephen Mitchell The rage of Achilles — sing it now, goddess, sing through me the deadly rage that caused the Achaeans such grief and hurled down to Hades the souls of so many fighters, leaving their naked flesh to be eaten by dogs and carrion birds, as the will of Zeus was accomplished. Mitchell worried that a modern reader may not grasp why a Goddess is asked to sing, and so he altered the first line slightly to address that concern. Unlike Fitzgerald, Fagles and Lombardo, who also claim to require a good deal of freedom from the words of the Greek, Mitchell translated the five lines with five lines in a style that is rapid, plain and direct in thought and expression, but also faithful to Homer and similar to translations that aim to keep close to the original Greek.

He follows convention for word choice and word order. Verity breaks away from the herd and confirms my claims. After the first line, however, Powell followed every conventional mistranslation and every feature of the prosaic route for word order. Alexander wants to start the epic with this word, but just sticks it out in front unconnected to the rest of the line. Its adjective, which Homer put enjambled at the start of the second line for emphasis, Alexander buries in the middle of the first line, so that it may be beside its noun.

She then uses all four remaining standard mistranslations and follows every feature of the prosaic route for word order. She also chose extravagant verbs in lines 2, 3 and 4: inflicted , hurled and a very odd use of rendered, in place of put, sent and made. This is silly because plainly it would not work. All the Trojan males were killed, but even if half of the Achaeans were slain, the ones remaining alive would take the Trojan women as sex slaves, and they along with the Achaean women, would thereby produce the same number of babies as they would have without the war.

To reduce a population, the number of women must be greatly reduced. If Zeus, the weather god, wanted to do so, he could easily cause a flood, like the biblical god, or withhold his rain and cause a famine. The Cypria is a silly cynical work of parody from a later century that was thrown away in ancient times as rubbish. Scholars such as Green have retrieved it from the trash bin by cobbling together assorted quotes from it in extent works of many Classical authors. It is not at all an exaggeration to say that modern scholars are confused by the Homeric gods and spread defamation through their writings and translations. In his literary critique published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Oct 30 th , , Professor Farrell used this passage to compare the Verity and Lattimore translations from the standpoint of English literature.

Below, I use this passage to compare these two translations and six others against the literal Greek:. John Prendergast And, as a poppy, to one side his head he cast , one in a garden with seed being heavy and showers of spring, so to one side bowed his head in its helmet , having become heavy. This Homeric simile is tricky. It has the usual as-so format, but in two parts. Line contains the first part, both the vehicle as a poppy and object to one side he cast his head. The end of and the whole of contain the second part of the vehicle, which explains that the poppy droops to one side because it is heavy with seed and moisture.

The second part of the object in then equates the bowing of the head to a similar condition of having become heavy. A translator must be careful with this inflective language to identify the subjects of the verbs. In , the verb balen cast, threw, tossed has a form which translates to past tense, active voice. The spelling of kare head lets it be the subject or object, but a head cannot toss, it can only be tossed. Someone tossed the head. The subject is Gorgythion, even though he is not named and has no pronoun. In an inflected language, the subject as a pronoun can be understood from the form of the verb alone, the pronoun need not be present, as it must be in English.

Poppy cannot be the subject of balen. A simile vehicle is always in the present tense. Also, poppies do not have heads. In , kare head is the subject, though spelled the same as in , because the participle is nominative in case and thus describes the action of the subject. It is the head that becomes heavy in its helmet and bows, not Gorgythion. In an inflected language, no preposition need be present. In the early 4th century BC Alcidamas composed a fictional account of a poetry contest at Chalcis with both Homer and Hesiod. Homer was expected to win, and answered all of Hesiod's questions and puzzles with ease.

Then, each of the poets was invited to recite the best passage from their work. Homer chose a description of Greek warriors in formation, facing the foe, taken from the Iliad. Though the crowd acclaimed Homer victor, the judge awarded Hesiod the prize; the poet who praised husbandry , he said, was greater than the one who told tales of battles and slaughter. The study of Homer is one of the oldest topics in scholarship, dating back to antiquity.

As a result of the poems' prominence in classical Greek education, extensive commentaries on them developed to explain parts of the poems that were culturally or linguistically difficult. In , the Greek scholar Demetrios Chalkokondyles published the editio princeps of the Homeric poems. These loose songs were not collected together in the Form of an epic Poem till Pisistratus ' time, about Years after. Friedrich August Wolf 's Prolegomena ad Homerum , published in , argued that much of the material later incorporated into the Iliad and the Odyssey was originally composed in the tenth century BC in the form of short, separate oral songs, [25] [26] [20] which passed through oral tradition for roughly four hundred years before being assembled into prototypical versions of the Iliad and the Odyssey in the sixth century BC by literate authors.

Within the Analyst school were two camps: proponents of the "lay theory", which held that the Iliad and the Odyssey were put together from a large number of short, independent songs, [20] and proponents of the "nucleus theory", which held that Homer had originally composed shorter versions of the Iliad and the Odyssey , which later poets expanded and revised. Meanwhile, the 'Neoanalysts' sought to bridge the gap between the 'Analysts' and 'Unitarians'. These anomalies point to earlier versions of the Iliad in which Ajax played a more prominent role, in which the Achaean embassy to Achilles comprised different characters, and in which Patroclus was actually mistaken for Achilles by the Trojans.

They point to earlier versions of the Odyssey in which Telemachus went in search of news of his father not to Menelaus in Sparta but to Idomeneus in Crete, in which Telemachus met up with his father in Crete and conspired with him to return to Ithaca disguised as the soothsayer Theoclymenus, and in which Penelope recognized Odysseus much earlier in the narrative and conspired with him in the destruction of the suitors.

Most contemporary scholars, although they disagree on other questions about the genesis of the poems, agree that the Iliad and the Odyssey were not produced by the same author, based on "the many differences of narrative manner, theology, ethics, vocabulary, and geographical perspective, and by the apparently imitative character of certain passages of the Odyssey in relation to the Iliad. Some ancient scholars believed Homer to have been an eyewitness to the Trojan War ; others thought he had lived up to years afterwards. Martin Litchfield West has argued that the Iliad echoes the poetry of Hesiod , and that it must have been composed around — BC at the earliest, with the Odyssey up to a generation later. The explanations suggested by modern scholars tend to mirror their position on the overall Homeric question.

Nagy interprets it as "he who fits the song together". West has advanced both possible Greek and Phoenician etymologies. Scholars continue to debate questions such as whether the Trojan War actually took place — and if so when and where — and to what extent the society depicted by Homer is based on his own or one which was, even at the time of the poems' composition, known only as legends. The Homeric epics are largely set in the east and center of the Mediterranean , with some scattered references to Egypt , Ethiopia and other distant lands, in a warlike society that resembles that of the Greek world slightly before the hypothesized date of the poems' composition.

In ancient Greek chronology, the sack of Troy was dated to BC. By the nineteenth century, there was widespread scholarly skepticism that the Trojan War had ever happened and that Troy had even existed, but in Heinrich Schliemann announced to the world that he had discovered the ruins of Homer's Troy at Hissarlik in modern Turkey. Some contemporary scholars think the destruction of Troy VIIa circa BC was the origin of the myth of the Trojan War, others that the poem was inspired by multiple similar sieges that took place over the centuries. Most scholars now agree that the Homeric poems depict customs and elements of the material world that are derived from different periods of Greek history.

In the Iliad Such helmets were not worn in Homer's time, but were commonly worn by aristocratic warriors between and BC. The Homeric epics are written in an artificial literary language or 'Kunstsprache' only used in epic hexameter poetry. Homeric Greek shows features of multiple regional Greek dialects and periods, but is fundamentally based on Ionic Greek , in keeping with the tradition that Homer was from Ionia.

Linguistic analysis suggests that the Iliad was composed slightly before the Odyssey , and that Homeric formulae preserve older features than other parts of the poems. The Homeric poems were composed in unrhymed dactylic hexameter ; ancient Greek metre was quantity-based rather than stress-based. These habits aid the extemporizing bard, and are characteristic of oral poetry.

For instance, the main words of a Homeric sentence are generally placed towards the beginning, whereas literate poets like Virgil or Milton use longer and more complicated syntactical structures. Homer then expands on these ideas in subsequent clauses; this technique is called parataxis. The so-called ' type scenes ' typische Szenen , were named by Walter Arend in He noted that Homer often, when describing frequently recurring activities such as eating, praying , fighting and dressing, used blocks of set phrases in sequence that were then elaborated by the poet.

The 'Analyst' school had considered these repetitions as un-Homeric, whereas Arend interpreted them philosophically. Parry and Lord noted that these conventions are found in many other cultures. C, B, A has been observed in the Homeric epics. Opinion differs as to whether these occurrences are a conscious artistic device, a mnemonic aid or a spontaneous feature of human storytelling. Both of the Homeric poems begin with an invocation to the Muse. The orally transmitted Homeric poems were put into written form at some point between the eighth and sixth centuries BC.

Some scholars believe that they were dictated to a scribe by the poet and that our inherited versions of the Iliad and Odyssey were in origin orally-dictated texts. Other scholars hold that, after the poems were created in the eighth century, they continued to be orally transmitted with considerable revision until they were written down in the sixth century. Most scholars attribute the book divisions to the Hellenistic scholars of Alexandria, in Egypt. After the establishment of the Library of Alexandria , Homeric scholars such as Zenodotus of Ephesus, Aristophanes of Byzantium and in particular Aristarchus of Samothrace helped establish a canonical text.

The first printed edition of Homer was produced in in Milan, Italy. Today scholars use medieval manuscripts, papyri and other sources; some argue for a "multi-text" view, rather than seeking a single definitive text. The nineteenth-century edition of Arthur Ludwich mainly follows Aristarchus's work, whereas van Thiel's , follows the medieval vulgate. Others, such as Martin West — or T. Allen, fall somewhere between these two extremes. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 8 October For other uses, see Homer disambiguation.

It is not to be confused with Homerian. For other uses, see Homerus disambiguation. Name ascribed by the ancient Greeks to the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Iliad Odyssey. Further information: Ancient accounts of Homer. Further information: Homeric scholarship and Homeric Question. Main article: Historicity of the Homeric epics. Main article: Homeric Greek. Ancient Greece portal Poetry portal Literature portal. The Lives of the Greek Poets. ISBN Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 31 August Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece. Retrieved 22 November Romilly, Jacqueline de

After the first line, however, Wyatt follows the prosaic route, but found a clever solution to the pronoun in line 4 the men themselves Lime Crime Cosmetics, a solution no 1981 education act summary translator below will copy. Incunabolo del The Literary Analysis Of Homers Iliad And Odyssey secolo. He compared each rendition The Literary Analysis Of Homers Iliad And Odyssey a ballad to an acorn The Literary Analysis Of Homers Iliad And Odyssey from an oak tree; every subsequent iteration sows the song anew. Schleiermacher also suggests that foreignizing translation puts The Literary Analysis Of Homers Iliad And Odyssey work a specific discursive strategy.