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dc.contributor.authorNatanson, Déborahen
dc.date.accessioned2018-05-14T10:14:57Z
dc.date.available2018-05-14T10:14:57Z
dc.date.issued2009en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1842/29910
dc.description.abstracten
dc.description.abstractDeath and human suffering are two of the central themes of the Iliad. What seems to matter most to Homer is the tragedy which irremediably underlies all of human existence: whether mortals are kings like Priam, supra-human heroes like Achilles, or ordinary people like those depicted on the shield and in the similes, they are all going to die and share the miserable fate of all those who have died before them, be they remembered or forgotten. The poem also offers a universal vision of suffering as something which no human being can escape, and which therefore must be borne and accepted. It is on this understanding of a universal suffering, an understanding which leads to the reconciliation of two bitter enemies, Priam and Achilles, that the poem closes.en
dc.description.abstractIt is also noticeable that the way those two subjects are dealt with in the poem show a subtle subversion of the epic's role as an ideological tool used to support the martial values of a warriors' ruling class, and highlight the tension between heroic ideals and the reality of the life of the characters: death, which is everywhere in the poem, is hated by the characters while life is highly valued and heroic death only partially compensates for it, as the warriors are actually terrified when faced with their own death. There is also no happy afterlife to look forward to. Furthermore, lamentation highlights suffering rather than glory as a consequence of war, and brings a uniquely feminine perspective on war, which nevertheless is in agreement with other aspects of the narrative. Interestingly, gender differences can be seen in the manner suffering is portrayed in the poem, not only in the fact that though suffering seems to be paradigmatically female, it is predominantly male, but also in ways 306 that reflect men and women's respective social roles and status. Female grief is formal and limited to burial ritual as well as passive (nothing ever comes from it). It is also limited to the family sphere, and women only mourn their male protectors: husbands and sons. On the other hand, male grief is active, as it leads to revenge and protection. It is also more varied in expression, and can be manifested in all sorts of contexts.en
dc.description.abstractBut the universality of suffering, which, like death and mortality, makes all men equal, is also one of the things which bring about an important way for mankind to overcome and compensate for death and suffering: pity and compassion for other human beings.en
dc.description.abstractIndeed, compensations to the grimness of the human condition can also be found in the Iliad. Pity in particular is pervasive in the poem. It is a way to overcome death and suffering through human solidarity and fellow-feeling, as well as through the actions that pity leads to such as revenge or protection and the poem ends with a striking act of compassion for a personal enemy: those gentler virtues ultimately transcend even nationalities and war, as can be seen in the meeting between Priam and Achilles.en
dc.description.abstractHowever, those are not the only compensations for the negative aspects of the human condition: even though the Iliad is a poem full of suffering and brutality (and even downright cruelty at times), gentleness is an important quality in the poem, and acts of kindness and generosity are surprisingly frequent, not only among friends and family (for example, the attitude of warriors towards women is significant of their attitude in general, and towards those more vulnerable than themselves in particular, and affection is clearly present between the warriors and their friends and family) but occasionally with enemies as well. Hospitality and respect for supplication are two key values expressed in the poem. Important characters such as Hector and Patroclus are described as being pmog and peiAixog, and lack of mildness is often criticised, by the warriors or by the gods themselves. Persuasion, rather than simply brute force, is another thing which is highly valued in the poem.en
dc.description.abstractMoreover, the characters of the Iliad constantly manage to find some degree of personal happiness, and find pleasure in the joys of life. Unsurprisingly, family and friends play a great part in this, but even the battlefield can be a source of joy, be it grim such as the joy the warriors often find in killing and cruelty, or innocent, such as the pleasure found in food or sleep. This capacity for joy and happiness is also noticeably present between superiors and inferiors, and hierarchical relations are often tinted with the vocabulary of pleasure: duties are understood as the desire to please one's superior, and in exchange, the superiors appear bound to please their inferiors in return.en
dc.description.abstractFurthermore, another way for human beings to mitigate the tragic human condition is found through social organisation. Although the functioning and organisation of human groups, through assemblies and decision-making are a very important source of conflicts in the poem, they are also an occasion for the characters to show their capacity for understanding and mutual respect. Unlike death and suffering, which can at best be compensated by things such as human solidarity and care, the conflicts created by human organisation can actually be fully resolved and avoided.en
dc.description.abstractPolitical resolution and appeasement, essentially in Book XXIII, lead to the true and full resolution and appeasement of the whole poem, which is not on the hierarchical and political level, but on a personal and human one: the reconciliation between Priam and 308 Achilles in the last book of the Iliad. Because he became fully part of the Achaian community again, and shown his capacity to function peacefully in a political, hierarchical setting such as the funeral games, Achilles can reach his full human potential in the meeting with Priam in Book XXIV, and transcend the boundaries of human organisation by sharing tears with an enemy.en
dc.description.abstractIt is not a perfect compensation for the sorrow human beings have to endure, but by recognising the universality of suffering, the heroes, even the sons of gods and goddesses, finally become fully human.en
dc.publisherThe University of Edinburghen
dc.relation.isreferencedbyAlready catalogueden
dc.subjectAnnexe Thesis Digitisation Project 2018 Block 18en
dc.titleDeiloi Brotei: Human Beings in Homer's Iliaden
dc.typeThesis or Dissertationen
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoralen
dc.type.qualificationnamePhD Doctor of Philosophyen


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