Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Quotes of the Day : Iliad 20

As I continually reread and think through the Iliad as I teach it, I find myself continually stopped by a phrase, a word, or a paragraph here and there. Here are a few phrases that stopped me in my reading of the Iliad, Book 20, when Achilles (Achilleus) and Aineias are fighting (or giving speeches before they fight).

First is Achilles to Aineias, telling him to step back for fighting Achilles in his godlike rage is not a clear-sighted moment for Aineias:
"Once a thing has been done, the fool sees it." (20.198; trans. Lattimore)
Achilles, who does seem to have a good grasp of future events (he knows his own death, for example), claims that even a fool can see in retrospect. The wise can see at least the immediate consequences of their actions.

Then, Aineias, in response to all of the verbal exchange going back and forth before they begin to fight says something interesting:
"The tongue of man is a twisty thing, there are plenty of words there
of every kind, the range of words is wide, and their variance." (20.248-9)
Is this a way of telling the reader that throughout the poet has been playing with words, toying with us, twisting the story? Is the poet as manipulative as Zeus (and Agamemnon, for that matter) in Book 2?


Angie Van De Merwe said...

A fool is one who does not listen to others. I have had others dismiss me, haven't you? Maybe because you are working on a Ph.D. you wouldn't have that problem....:)Besides education, money talks louder than the average person's' voice who is not well-connected...

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Jared, you posted a comment on Quadralateral Thoughts about Palin's speech...which I responded to, but am afraid you would not see, unless you visited it again...You said that Rommney had said some things that you hoped others wouldn't believe and had to turn the tv off...what were they, as I didn't hear his speech...I agree with you wholeheardedly about coversion from Judiasm to Christianity..