Presentation on theme: "Agenda Review Kleos & Timē Will & Agency (human autonomy) –Excerpts from Books 5, 6 The civilized and the savage –Books 9 & 11."— Presentation transcript:
Agenda Review Kleos & Timē Will & Agency (human autonomy) –Excerpts from Books 5, 6 The civilized and the savage –Books 9 & 11
Review Kleos & Timē
Kleos –“glory,” “renown,” “fame” –The warrior’s or hero’s ultimate honor, that for which he strives –Earned by actions, by deeds –Lives-on after the death of the hero –Conferred and perpetuated by poets who sing klea andrōn = “fames of men,” “stories of men” klea theon = “fames of gods,” “stories of gods” Timē –“honor” –A kind of societal valuation of a person –Ephemeral, impermanent, transient – can be given or taken away arbitrarily and cannot be taken to the grave –The kind of honor that a king or leader holds (e.g., Agamemnon is the most honored of Achaeans because he is their greatest king – wealthiest and commands largest army, not because he’s the most prudent or the best warrior – his honor has little or nothing to do with his own action; he was born into it)
Kleos & Timē BOTH kleos and timē are a kind of honor. Timē usually presupposes and often represents an underlying kleos. E.g., a trophy or prize money is award to the victor of a contest. The magnificence of the award signifies the magnitude of the victory. The prize(s) represent the value society places upon the victory and are intended to remind others of it. That is, they are intended to remind people of the victory, perpetuate its kleos. But the prize only has value to the victor while he lives. In death, he loses the prize, and there is only his reputation, the story of his deeds, his kleos.
Will & Agency In Homer and Greek Tragedy
Iliad Book 5 Pallas Athena now gave to Diomedes, Tydeus’ son, the strength and courage That would make him Shine Among the Greeks and win him glory. (1-4) Pallas Athena heard Diomedes’ prayer. She made his body lithe and light, Then feathered these words in his ear: “Go after the Trojans for all you’re worth, Diomedes. I have put into your heart Your father’s heroic temper, the fearless Fighting spirit of Tydeus the horseman, Tydeus the Shield. And I have removed The mist that has clouded our eyes So that now you can tell god from man. Do not fight with any immortal Who might come to challenge you Except Aphrodite, daughter of Zeus. If she comes you may wound her with bronze.” (140-50) Lycaon to Aeneas about Diomedes: He’s not fighting like this without some god Standing at his side and cloaked in mist. I swear one of the immortals turned aside An arrow I already shot at him Just as it struck. I wound up hitting him In the right shoulder, clean through his breastplate. I thougt I had sent him down to Hades, But I didn’t get him. Some god is sure angry. (205-12) Aeneas about the horses who carry himself & Lycaon toward battle with Diomedes: They know how to eat up the plain, and how to Cut and turn, in pursuit of flight, And they will get us back to the city in safety If Zeus gives Diomedes the glory again. (241-4)
Iliad Book 6 Hector to Hecuba: “I will go over to summon Paris, If he will listen to what I have to say. I wish the earth would gape open beneath him. Olympian Zeus has bred him as a curse To Troy, to Primam, and all Priam’s children. If I could see him dead and gone to Hadies, I think my heart might be eased of its sorrow.” (192-8) Hector meant to shame Paris and provoke him: “This is a fine time to be nursing your anger You idiot! We’re dying out there defending the walls. It’s because of you the city is in this hellish war. If you saw someone else holding back from combat You’d pick a fight with him yourself. Now get up Before the whole city goes up in flames!” And Paris, Handoms as a god: “That’s no more than just, Hector, But listen now to what I have to say. It’s not out of anger or spite toward the Trojans I’ve been here in my room. I only wanted To recover from my pain. My wife was just now Encouraging me to get up an fight, And that seems the better thing to do.” (341-55) Helen to Hector: “Brother-in-law Of a scheming, cold-blooded bitch, I whish that on the day my mother bore me A windstorm had swept me away to a mountain Or into the waves of the restless sea, Swept me away before all this could happen. But since the gods have ordained these evils, Why couldn’t I be the wife of a better man, One sensitive at least to repeated reproaches? Paris has never had an ounce of good sense And never will. He’ll pay for it someday. … You bear such a burden For my wanton ways and Paris’ witlessness. Zeus has placed this evil fate on us so that In time to come poets will sing of us.” (361-76) Hector replies: “Don’t ask me to sit … My hearrt is out there with our fighting me. … I’m going to my house now To see my family, my wife and my boy. I don’t know Whether I’ll ever be back to see them again, or if The gods will destroy me at the hands of the Greeks.”
Iliad Book 6 Hector replies to Andromache’s plea that he not leave the safety of Troy’s walls: “Yes, Andromache, I worry about all this myself, But my shame before the Trojans and their wives, With their long robes trailing, would be too terrible If I hung back from battle like a coward. And my heart won’t let me. I have learned to be One of the best, to fight in Troy’s first ranks, Defending my father’s honor and my own. Deep in my heart I know too well There will come a day when holy Ilion will perish, And Priam and the people under Priam’s ash spear. But the pain I will feel for the Trojans then, … All that pain is nothing to what I will feel For you, when some bronze-armored Greek Leads you away in tears, on your first day of slavery. … But may I be dead And the earth heaped up above me Before I hear your cry as you are dragged away.” ( ) With these words, resplendent Hector Reached for his child, who shrank back screaming Into his nurse’s bosom, terrified of his father’s Bronze-encased face and the horsehair plume He saw nodding down from the helmet's crest. This forced a laugh from his father and mother, And Hector removed the helmet from his head And set it on the ground all shimmering with light. Then he kissed his dear son and swung him up gently And said a prayer to Zeus and the other immortals ( ). Hector to Andromache: “You worry too much about me, Andromache. No one is going to send me to Hades before my time, And no man has ever escaped his fate, rich or poor Coward or hero, once born into this world. (511-14).
Vernant, Jean-Pierre. “Intimation of the Will in Greek Tragedy." Myth and Tragedy in Ancient Greece. Trans. Janet Lloyd. New York: Zone Books, The tragic treatment of will in agency is the focus of this essay. The agent's will, like his psychological character, cannot be analyzed in modern terms for much the same reason. Deliberation of or by the tragic agent does not equate to autonomy; it means the agent is aware of the "impasse" that he has come to in the action of the play (52). This "impasse" is the psychological space where the agent is aware of his inability to dictate his own desire and/or action. The agent's deliberation, which modern psychological assessments tend to equate with a free will, does nothing more than "make him aware of the aporia” or impasse of his situation; his deliberation "has no power to motivate one option rather than another" (52). As was the case with Eteocles in the previous essay, the tragic agent is subject to "religious" or daemonic influences. Even more foreboding is the ultimate "necessity" in tragedy that forces the agent to act, or recognize his action, in a particular light. Tragic man "recognizes that there is only one way open before him," that of necessity, based on his circumstances, presumably governed by the gods (52). A decision is necessarily the result of volition, but the inverse is not true: volition, voluntary action, does not hinge upon a decision. Proairesis is the rational decision, belonging to the "practical domain" and can operate apart from the domain of action (57). Ultimately, "deliberation and decision only take place with regard to things that 'lie within our power'" (57). In tragedy, agency is not within the agent's power; it is something done necessarily. Where a modern reader tends to attribute will to the tragic agent, he should more accurately attribute knowledge or awareness (62). Tragedy marks a turning point in the Greek conception of will because it causes, especially in Aeschylus and Sophocles, the spectator to question the relationships between will, agency and guilt. The constituents of these relationships are markedly different between the legal domain and the religious domain. The very nature of tragic action is that the divine and the (conscious?) subject are present in the act. If this is the case, the question then becomes: How is man related to his own actions? (79). "For the Greeks, to act meant to [be] swept along in the current of human life [which was] illusory, vain, and impotent without the help of the gods" (83).
Iliad Book 9 The Embassy to Achilles
Embassy to Achilles Odysseus, Phoenix, Ajax are sent by Agamemnon to entreat Achilles to rejoin the army. Odysseus presents the gifts that Agamemnon offers Achilles if he returns They cam to the Myrmidon’s ships and huts And found him plucking clear notes on a lyre- A beautiful instrument with a silver bridge He had taken when he ansacked Eetion’s town- Accompanying himself as he sang the glories Of heroes in war. (Book ).
Odysseus Is it not true, my friend, that your father Peleus Told you as he sent you off with Agamemnon: ‘My son, as for strengh, Hera and Athena Will bless you if they wish, but it is up to you To control your proud spirit. A friendly heart Is far better. Steer clear of scheming strife, So that Greeks young and old will honor you.’ You have forgotten what the old man said, But you can still let go of your anger, right now. (255-63)
Achilles’ reply to Odysseus “It doesn’t matter if you stay in camp or fight- In the end, everybody comes out the same. Coward and hero get the same reward: You die whether you slack off or work. And what do I have for all my suffering, Constantly putting my life on the line? … What the others did get they at least got to keep. They all have their prizes, everone but me- I’m the only Greek from whom he took something back. …. Every decent, sane man Loves his woman and cares for her, as I did, Loved her from my hear. It doesn’t matter That I won her with my spear. He took her, Took her right out of my hands, cheated me, And now he thinks he’s going to win me back? He can forget it. I know how things stand. …. He cheated me, wronged me. Never again. He’s had it. He can go to hell in peace, The half-wit that Zeus has made him. His gifts? His gifts mean nothing to me. Not even if he offered me ten or twenty times All the trade Orchomenus does in a year, All the wealth laid up in Egyptian Thebes, The wealthiest city in all the world, Where they drive two hundred teams of horses Out through each of its hundred gates. Not even if Agamemnon gave me gifts As numberless as grains of sand or dust, Would he persuade me or touch my heart- Not until he’s paid in full for all m grief. ( )
Phoenix “Peleus sent me with you On that day you left Phthia to go to Agamemnon, A child still, knowing nothing of warfare Or assemblies where men distinguish themselves. He sent me to you to teach you this – To be a speaker of words and a doer of deeds. [tells the story of Meleger who refused to defend his city until it was too late] Don’t be like that. Don’t think that way, And don’t let your spirit turn that way. The ships will be harder to save when they’re burning. Come while there are gifts, while the Achaeans Will still honor you as if you were a god. But if you go into battle without any gifts, Your honor will be less, save us or not.” ( )
Achilles’ reply to Phoenix “I don’t need that kind of honor, Poenix. My honor comes from Zeus, and I will have it Among these beaked ships as long as my breath Still remains and my knees still move.” (624-7)
Ajax Achilles Has made his great heart savage. He is a cruel man, and has no regard For the love that his friends honored him with, Beyond anyone else who camps with the ships. Pitiless. A man accepts compensation For a murdered brother, a dead son. The killer goes on living in the same t own After paying blood money, and the bereaved Restrains his proud spirit and broken heart Because he has received payment. But you, The gods have replaced your heart With flint and malice, because of one girl, One single girl, while we are offering you Seven of the finest women to be found And many other gifts.” ( )
Achilles’ reply to Ajax “Ajax, son of Telamon in the line of Zeus, Everything you say is after my own heart. But I swell with rage when I think of how The son of Atreus treated me like dirt In public, as if I were some worthless tramp.
War turns savage Agamemnon comes across two Trojan princes on the battlefield: Achilles once Had bound these two with willow branches, Surprising them as they watched their sheep On Ida’s hills, and later released them for a ransom. Now Agamemnon, Atreus’ wide-ruling son, Hit Isus with his spear above the nipple And Antiphus with his sword beside his ear ( ) Agamemnon corners two Lycian princes: “Take us alive, son of Atreus, for ransom. Antimachus’ palace is piled high with treasure, Gold and bronze and wrought iron or father Would give you past counting once he found out We were alive and well among the Greek ships.” Sweet words, and they salted them with tears. But the voice they heard was anything but sweet: “Your father Antimachus – if you really are His sons – once urged the Trojan assembly To kill Menelaus on the spot Whenhe came with Odysseus on an embassy. Now you will pay for his heinous offense.” ***There is no more room for ransom. To lose on the battlefield means not only to die and be stripped of your armor, humiliating in itself, but to have your body mutilated, become carion for vultures and dogs, denying the warrior his proper burial.***