Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Readalong: The Iliad by Homer Post 2

I am participating in the readalong hosted by A Literary Odyssey for The Iliad by Homer. This is the second, and final post for The Iliad. Here is my first post for The Iliad.

I've come to the conclusion that everyone in this book is selfish and no one is inherently good- including the gods. They are killing each other over one woman! If only Paris could have controlled his libido and not have stolen another man's wife, the Achaeans need not spend 10 years outside of Troy trying to kill them. I think Achilles is probably the most selfish of all since he refused to fight because he was insulted (when Agememnon took her prize, a girl). Yet, he sits there and watches the battle because he wants to see his former allies fall in battle. When his best friend dies though, he is outraged and goes on a killing rampage. So don't insult Achilles because then he won't help you when you need it and don't kill his friend because then he seeks out revenge with an overwhelming vengeance.

I don't think Achilles is fully redeemed when he is kind to Priam, king of Troy, and returns Hector's body and lets the Trojans bury him properly. I definitely think it was a step forward in maturity for Achilles but he was pretty awful throughout the story.

However, these are complaints of the characters and a great book can be made up of terrible characters. I have two complaints for the story itself. 1.- the second half of the book was made up very long battle scenes that chronicles the name of the dead, the graphic cause of death, their killer, their fathers, and homelands. I liked the excitement and adventurous feeling of the battle scenes, but I think narrating each death was a little too much.

I also did not like the ending of the book. The Iliad ends with the burial of Hector. Well..... how did the war end? We aren't told. We assume that the day of Hector's burial, they began fighting again but we don't know how it ended up. I'm just not sure why it ended there.

After all of these complaints, I must say that I did enjoy reading The Iliad for the most part. I really enjoyed the first half. I am also proud of myself for reading this since I had tried once before but wasn't able to finish it. Did anyone else have any problems with the unending battle scenes or the ending? I plan to follow this up with reading The Odyssey.

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