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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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Replacements and Representatives

Replacements and Representatives

The Quarrel (Cycle I, Column A) and the Embassy (Cycle II, Column A)

Homer's Cosmic Fabrication

Bruce Heiden (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with a theoretical synopsis of the previous chapters that emphasizes the underdetermination of themes and its relationship to the choices of the agents in the story. It continues investigation of analogous themes in segments of analogous position in the three-cycle design, focusing especially upon the quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon in book 1 and the embassy in book 9. Analysis shows that while Agamemnon offers Achilles quantities of tangible goods, Achilles conceives of the wrong done him as a violation of trust rather than material loss. For Achilles, the value of a thing is the symbolism it acquires through choice. This disagreement elaborates alternative conceptions of honor, as either gift symbolic of friendly regard (Achilles) or payment demanded by a superior (Agamemnon).

Keywords:   Achilles, Agamemnon, embassy, friendship, gift, Iliad book 1, Iliad book 9, symbolism, theme, trust

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