The Homer Series: GREEK LIT Journal Entry 6
What do we do when we’re met half and half with some of the hardest moments of our lives? What do we do when we feel like all hope has obliterated and we feel at our lowest? Sometimes life comes at us so fast that we forget about everything else that’s happening around us, just so we can mourn the life of a loved one. As much as we tell ourselves that we will eventually get pass somethings, we never really do, and we always find ourselves reminiscing on realistic moments that coincide with those of beloved loved ones. Such as watching the Miley Cyrus’ ‘The Last Song’ and mourning the loss of a parent to cancer or even listening sweet harmonies and resonating lyrics of Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth in ‘See You Again’. As much as we’ve been hearing Dr. S try his very best to ease us into Partoclus’ death and the indiscriminate wrath of Achilles’, I don’t think he really eased us into the sorrow and grief that was the lamentations of either Briseis or Achilles. The lamentations were such a significant aspect of the passages and everything that is to come as we conclude the Iliad. Similarly, I read these passages that are so engulfed with the spirit of sadness itself and found myself reminiscing the loss of loved ones; even more so, a brother-in-arms that was just as youthful and promising as Patroclus. I remember weeping his death and questioning the will my God, undergoing one of the roughest periods of grief I had ever endured-in fact it was my first. So, in reflection of the discussion of Achilles’ bond with Patroclus, I start by saying I truly get it and this meaning. Is rooted deep into the very intricate understanding of friendship. There is definitely no set standard nor guideline as to how to grief the loss of a loved one, we are all human and we are so unique in how we express ourselves.
“Grief is the price we pay for love.”
— Queen Elizabeth II
Greek Literature was probably the only course that wasn’t stressing me at this point-until Dr.S told mentioned the word ‘exam’, such a terrifying term. We continued with our usual invigorating discussions as we browsed through the Lamentations of Briseis, as Agamemnon returned her to Achilles and she came upon the news of her dear Patroclus’ death. We tried to link her pain to that of Andromache’s and compared their experiences with loved ones and the idea of losing them. We were introduced to the Greek term ‘meilichios’ which meant king and gentle to the extent of being very good at soothing people or in Dr. S’ words, their ‘there-there’ person-PS. I have two, my mom and my Aunt Kay. In addition, we discussed our idea of ane apology and how we felt reading the apology of Agamemnon. We got to see clips of American politicians and their forms of apologies and realized that these forms are truly seen in the real world. This week was quite good for me for the most part, I was good in my studies and I was so excited about seeing what the end of this amazing piece of literature had in store for us. All study sessions were accounted for and I even speed read so I could start the Netflix TV-series ‘Troy; A Fallen City’, which was quite interesting I must add and my aunt was hooked to wait on me to continue. I must say it really indulged us in the sexual tensions between Helen and Alexandros, the complications and even the plan for him to marry their daughter ! That was definitely new for me.
From the initial stages of this reading this epic poem, we have come to relate it to that of an accordion as a way of helping us to comprehend the continuous ins and outs that this story has to offer. In addition, we were asked to analyze the book with great understand, so much that we comprehend the ‘domino effect’. In Book 18, we read one of the most beautifully composed descriptions throughout the entire story-the description of God-made armor of Achilles. The passage speaks to the craftsmanship and skillfulness of Hephaestus and the honor of Achilles to be blessed with such a gift, perks of having a goddess for a mom. The imagery that was described in the passages left me in awe. It describes how elaborately made the shield was and how it told stories that were truly significant. It speaks to the shield showing two cities of mortal men, married in one and quite blissful until a quarrel over a blood price disturbs the peace. This can also be can be seen as a reoccurring theme in the Iliad, men were always at odds over the blood price of another. Isn’t this the same idea that is presented in the embassy to Achilles in efforts of quelling his anger? Isn’t the same idea being presented as Achilles swears to avenge Patroclus with the slaughtering of twelve Trojan boys?
In another aspect, we see the description of forces of armed men lying around the second city. The division in the camp of the armed forces and the yearning to sack a great citadel. It speaks of a great battle by a river and this eludes to our imaginations to think of this describing the sacking of Troy, or even a great battle by the Scamander. Which thereafter illustrates the richness of a land, does this refer to the richness of the Argive land after acquiring the wealth that it will after sacking Troy ? In essence, we have seen how puppet master-like these Olympians have been and we have read through the prophesying of Zeus and as such we can try to deduce that this shield is a representation of the Trojan War after Achilles has join the fight. The shield, in all it elaborateness, is a lifeless prophet that still possesses the skills of an oracle, painting the proceedings of the war as bright as day in a metaphorical sense. I personally believe that the poets always have an ulterior motive in doing what they do. This scene was tactically placed here, in a moment where the reader might have so many questions and truly indulging in the climax of a great and epic story, they drop hints in the representation of a good puzzle that is the beautiful shield of Achilles. Further on in the book, we see how in awe and breath-taking this heaven-made thing is in the presence of even his comrades in battle. For most warriors, the use of ‘apotropaic’ symbols centered around their individualism on the shield was the embodiment of what they wanted to happen in battle. For example, the Gorgon’s head can be seen as a fear factor for people in battle that may approach the great Atreide, he governs by fear and tension. Hence, it was long before predicted of what will happen when Achilles returns to battle; the fear he’ll instill and the slaughtering he’ll do. Imagine looking as a very big shiny shield in battle that dictates the proceedings of the war you are fighting in, not very confident anymore right ? Does this description help to further understand apart from his God-like physique, what introduced so much fear into his enemies ? I believe so.
On another note, we have seen many warriors throughout the course of this book and I feel at the initial stage I was way too biased to speak ill of Hector of Troy. Eric Bana played him so well in the 2004 version of the movie Troy and to be very honest, I was sold on the character. He was Troy’s golden boy and heer and the movie sent across the most inspiring impact on lives ever, it took away all the ill moments that the Iliad has revealed and I don’t think I share the same opinion on him after read this story. Hector was a true leader and general in battle, he was found worthy and favorable by so many Gods and Goddesses. He was aroused by many of them and imbued with heavenly strength to ensure victory, he was very trusting his Gods and was very careful in how he every approached their sacrifices. We see his more spiritual sides when he begs his mother to pray to Athene, along with the rest of Troy’s woman. He was very passionate about his family and was truly the epitome of patriotism. Hector was willing to defend love in the name of love for his family, brother and homeland. He had so many desirable traits that made you look up to him; however, as we slowly analyzed him more and more we saw more to dislike. As a leader, we love to see traits that display confidence and sensibility; however, we hate to see ‘leaders’ being easily swayed by the negative words of others. Pride comes like a thief in the night and poisons the mind of even the most humble man. It seeps beneath the flesh and pushes you to be irrational and we see that so much throughout the latter part of the Iliad with Hector. Just as Zeus, I too was angered by him wearing the armor of Achilles. Taking it off the body of a dead man because of rebukes from your comrades set off the loathing for me and it just continued to go downhill. After a while, I was patiently waiting on Achilles to come and play executioner. I was disappointed because he has always showed signs of sensibility and for me that was just a fatuous gesture. Nevertheless, battle neither forgives nor forgets and justice will be served. Until next time, αντίο και μείνε ασφαλής [GOODBYE AND STAY SAFE].