By Mark Buchan

This examine examines human hope in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey and the way it relating to heroic ideology. Buchan argues that the poems in truth critiqued the very ideology in which their heroes lay and asks `What occurs if we see the Iliad and Odyssey as analyzing the mental implications of the way to not get what you will want' instead of a narrative of hope and fulfilment of those to arrive a undeniable finish. 3 stories from the Odyssey , stories of `narrative traumas', are defined within the first 3 chapters and set the tone for the rest of the ebook which explores how a lot of the motion in either poems might be visible as a reaction to hope, highlighting the vulnerability and fragility of the human .

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Extra info for The Limits of Heroism: Homer and the Ethics of Reading (The Body, In Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism)

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Need, Demand, Desire Polyphemus, then, is introduced to language through his blinding. To help clar­ ify the effects of this entrance, we can turn to Lacan's theoretical attempts to ex­ plain the consequences of the child 's entrance to language by differentiating be­ tween need, demand, and desire. This Lacanian story about the child should also alert us to the strange way in which the story of the Cyclops' blinding ma­ nipulates the social roles of fathers and sons, turning a hyperautonomous adult (before the blinding) into a helpless child.

Unfriendly Phaeacians So the society of the Phaeacians is an idealized, impossible version of a patri­ archy. However, this perfection seems to have some complications. For along­ side the ability of the Phaeacians to pass on every stranger to his destination is their now notorious "unfriendliness" to strangers. 7 The key to their unfriend­ liness emerges after the games, when Alcinous recounts a tale told by his father, N ausithous, about the anger of Poseidon. Tell me your land, your neighborhood and your city, so that our ships, straining with their own purpose, can carry you Phaeacia � 39 there, for there are no steersmen among the Phaiakians, neither are there any steering oars for them, such as other ships have, but the ships themselves understand men's thoughts and purposes, and they know all the cities of men and their fertile fields, and with greatest speed they cross the gulf of the salt sea, huddled under a mist and cloud, nor is there ever any fear that they may suffer damage or come to destruction.

For here, the exposure of his power is precisely what threatens to dissolve it; by winning the game, he runs the risk of giving the game away. Odysseus' con- Phaeacia � 4z trol over the Phaeacians depends on his ability to appear as ordinary, as just an­ other voyager on the way to his destination. Odysseus' ability (and need) to walk this tightrope can help us understand both the latent threat in Laodamas' invitation to compete and Odysseus' reluctance. For in offering the invitation, Laodamas is quick to remind Odysseus that ships are waiting to take him home ( Od.

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