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Homer's Cosmic FabricationChoice and Design in the Iliad$
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Bruce Heiden

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195341072

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195341072.001.0001

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Persons, Problems, and Choices

Persons, Problems, and Choices

The Progression of Events in the Iliad

Homer's Cosmic Fabrication

Bruce Heiden (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes the actions of the whole Iliad to address the question of whether or in what sense the Iliad could present a “single action” as Aristotle said it did. The analysis uses Pavel's method of Move diagrams, derived from game theory, to represent and study how story events develop in trajectories from problem situations in which agents make choices. It finds that the events of the Iliad comprise seven major Moves that all intersect through a single common agent, Zeus, whose planning therefore demarcates a central orientation of all the epic's action. These major Moves include Achilles' plan to achieve compensatory honor from Zeus, Zeus's conflict with the pro-Trojan trio of Hera, Athena, and Poseidon; and Hektor's inability to heed warnings, especially from Zeus, that his successes are only temporary.

Keywords:   agents, characters, event trajectories, Hektor, Iliad, orientation, Pavel, plot, Zeus

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