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The Iliad back to reviews
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What can I say. It's an epic. It's The Epic. You know the plot, but if not, go to a library. Read it. NOW!

One of the problems I saw with this is that there's just too many characters with no backstory or characterizations. They don't seem real, and their deaths don't really have an emotional effect. However, the characters that are characterized are larger than life. Their deaths bring you to tears. Especially Hector, the best character in the story. Hector's death is even worse because it ends the Iliad, and you just know that without him, troy is doomed.

The characters I hated the most were Paris and Helen. Paris is a moron who chose having a girlfriend over Omniscience and being All Powerful. Helen is a brainless, but oddly Woobiesh, girl who is so pretty she makes Mary Sue look like a dump. Together they cause one of the biggest tragedies in mythology.

My favorites were Hector and Odysseus. They're both smart men forced against their will into a war they disagreed with.

A lot of the best known elements aren't actually in this book, but a lot of great things no one seems to know about are here also. Like that King Priam of Troy had 50 children, 49 of which didn't betray him and join the invading Greeks.

That realistic ending, were some sympathetic folks lose, while others win, is one reason The Iliad is so sucessful.

I found The Iliad to be an immensely enjoyable read, despite it's length. I had fun reading it. However, many of the characters, such as Achilles, and Agamemnon are total jerks, with few or no sympathetic points. It was hard not to instinctively root for the Trojans, especially Hektor. It's an interesting idea, that when the "Heroes" are unsympathetic and the "Villains" are better than them. We know the heroes will win, but we don't want them to.

I believe that you owe it to yourself to read this, despite the length and hardness. This is a book that will make you think about many different things in many different ways. I've read it at least fifteen times, and every time I learn a lot and get many different impressions. It's never the same twice. Read the sequel, called The Odyssey, which some say is better. I would also recommend that you read the other legends associated with The Iliad and the Trojan War as well. So read the Iliad, and "sing, o muse of the wrath of Achilles".

I recommend "Trojan Women" and some of the other associated works of Euripides, Sophocles and Aeschylus as well. The Odyssey is I think more solidly structured than Iliad — although they are both very different books.

A lot of the plays especially of Euripides (and possibly even Sophocles) go further into what might be viewed as an anti-Achaean and possibly even an anti war (Interesting for the Classical age) sentiment.

Very interesting review. To be fair, being the most semi-divine and beautiful woman in the world WAS what Helen was famous for in the first place. A lot of the more passingly mentioned characters exist as part of the battles, which is a required device for epics at this time, to be fair.

If you ARE interested in this genre — check out Ovid's Metamorphoses also. Apart from being a genuinely good read, his narration of the Centauromachy completely subverts (through sheer exaggeration) the tropes associated with epic poetry's battle narratives.

Shame that a lot of the other epic poems in the Trojan Cycle have only partially survived!
comment #3621 kukalakana 31st Jul 10
Ajax 4life! Those two pimp daddies were the coolest chars, IMO.
comment #3669 Phrederic 2nd Aug 10
Not to mention the epic showdown between the gods! I couldn't believe what I was reading... it was just like some great matchup in a manga, or something, if you'll excuse me comparing the Iliad to a manga. Ares vs Athena, Hera vs Artemis, Apollo vs Poseidon, the river Xanthus vs Hephaestus. Granted, all but the Hephaestus fight were super short, but wow, the Iliad knows how to enrapture.
comment #12189 canIusethishandle 5th Jan 12
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