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The Heart of Achilles: Characterization and Personal Ethics in the Iliad Paperback – December 1, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Graham Zanker is professor of Classics at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. He is the author of "The Heart of Achilles" and "Realism in Alexandrian Poetry."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press (December 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0472084003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472084005
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #890,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By P. Soen on February 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
The heart of Achilles examines the ethical considerations set forth in the Iliad. Chapter 1 examines the psychological motives for behavior. Zanker says that the Homeric heroes were motivated by a system of shame and honor. For example, when the Trojans are gaining victory Hector urges them as such:
Trojans! Lycians! Dardan fighters hand-to-hand!
Fight like men, my friends, call up your battle fury-
make for the hollow ships! I see with my own eyes
how Zeus has blocked their finest archers arrows.
Easy see what help Zeus lends to mortals,
either to those he gives surpassing glory
or those he saps and wastes, refuses to defend,
just as he wastes the archives' power but backs us now.
So fight by the ships, all together. And that comrade
who meets his death and destiny, spirit or stabbed,
let him die! He dies fighting for fatherland-
no dishonor there!
He'll leave behind him wife and sons unscathed,
his house and estate unharmed-once these Argives
sail for home, the fatherland they love." (Fagles, 15. 565 -- 579)
The goal of their action is honor. And we can see in the same battle the Achean captains exhort their men with the flip side:
"Shame, you Argives! All or nothing now-
die, or live and drive defeat from the ships!
You want this flashing Hector to take the fleet
then each man walk the waves to regain his native land?
Can't you hear him calling his armies on, full force,
this Hector, wild to gut our hulls with fire?
He's not inviting them to a dance, believe me-
he commands them into battle! No better tactics now
than to fight them hand-to-hand with all our fury.
Read more ›
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By A Customer on March 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
An interesting prodding of Achilles'character. His character, personality etc. Recommended for anyone who likes this ancient character.
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Format: Paperback
An interesting prodding of Achilles'character. His character, personality etc. Recommended for anyone who likes this ancient character. Forgot to mention name in above post-sorry!
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