The Iliad (Fagles translation)

The Iliad (Fagles translation) - While reading, I frequently thought of this quotation from the Odyssey: "Ah how shameless -- the way these mortals blame the gods. / From us alone, they say, come all their miseries, yes, / but they themselves, with their own reckless ways, / compound their pains beyond their proper share."The Iliad is agonizing to read -- all that relentless death and misery. Just go home! Forget about Helen! Go live a peaceful, happy life -- raise goats, who cares about glory?Remember all those begats in the bible? Here we have the opposite: a litany of death. One after another after another -- Greeks and Trojans butchering each other. You'd quickly get numb to it if Homer hadn't put in these little biographical details that just broke your heart. Each one of them became a real person to you just at the moment where they died a horrible death on the battlefield.There was a bit of respite here and there with the lovely nature and everyday-rural-life metaphors. But then, that often made it even harder to go back to the fighting.As for the "heroes"... well, I know it was a different time, a different culture, etc., etc., but I'm really hard-pressed to see the valor in hacking people to death in their sleep. Or driving a spear through them as they're running away. Or skewering them while they're on their knees in front of you begging for mercy. Or standing over the body of someone you just killed and taunting them.I love how in began and ended in medias res. Very nice. Counters the expectations.Incredible how different this was from the Odyssey which was a completely pleasurable read. I can't believe I preferred this to the Odyssey the first time I read them both eons ago. Rather alarmed at my younger self, really.Anyhow, very glad to have reread The Iliad. Fagles is a truly wonderful translator. Underlined a lot of magnificent and/or horrifying passages. Relieved it's over.

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