Tuesday 31 May 2011

The Iliad - Homer. Final Part.

Turns out taking a week long break from reading this was a bad idea. Meant I spent most of yesterday trying to finish the book. Basically I got to the half way point, read something else and lost my mojo. These things happen I guess but I did finish it.

So the main reason I lost interest in the book half way through is that the story seemed to go back and forth with the Trojans are winning, no wait the Gods are now backing the Achaean's. Oops, back to the Trojans. It got a little tedious although I think if I had kept going in the first place it might not have felt like that.

At the end of part one Zeus had given Hector some fighting spirit and he was pushing the Achaean's back to their ships. Stupidly he decides to take a little break. Whilst his wife and kids have been warned off from interfering he has forgotten someone. That's right, his brother Poseidon decides to help the Achaean's. Hera decides to prevent Zeus from noticing by distracting him with her feminine wiles. It works and the Achaean's are back on form.

Funnily enough when Zeus wakes up he notices what his brother is up to and gets a little angry. He tells him to get back to the sea or else. Reluctantly Poseidon agrees. Meanwhile, the Trojans are winning again and Apollo has renewed Hector's fighting spirit. Achilles best friend, Patroclus, is upset that so many Greeks are dying at the hands of the Trojans. He requests to join the battle which Achilles allows but refuses to join himself as he is still in a huff. This is when we learn that all of this has been planned by Zeus at the request of Thetis who spoke to him on behalf of Achilles. So basically the war is being prolonged because Achilles went crying to his mum. Obviously no one told Achilles to be careful what he wished for because his best friend is killed by Hector as a result.

Achilles then joins the war and it's at this point that Zeus allows all Gods to interfere. He doesn't want Achilles to reach Ilium too quickly. Eventually he does and of course faces Hector in battle.

Despite finding it hard to get back into again I did enjoy the book. It was a lot more brutal than I was expecting. I had been warned it would be but I still wasn't prepared for some of the descriptions such as brain spattered helmets (lovely). I felt that the ending was a little anticlimactic. I wonder if I am mixing up parts of the Odyssey with the Iliad. I do recommend it though. Don't be put off by the verse because if I can read it then anyone can.

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