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Title: Δειμoι Bρoτoι : human beings in the 'Iliad'
Author: Natanson, Déborah
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2009
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This dissertation investigates what it means to be human in Homer’s Iliad. It begins by looking at how Homer’s depiction of the human condition centres on the negative aspects of human life such as mortality, suffering and loss. The tragedy of mortality irremediably underlies all of human existence, and heroic death only partially compensates for it. Lamentation highlights suffering rather than glory as a consequence of war. The thesis goes on to explore how some forms of compensation and happiness are still possible in personal relationships through such positive values as pity and gentleness, which encourage solidarity and fellow-feeling among human beings, even between enemies. The poem ends with a striking act of compassion for a personal enemy: indeed, those gentler virtues ultimately transcend even nationalities and war, as can be seen in the meeting between Priam and Achilles. In addition to individual interpersonal relationships, another way for human beings to mitigate the tragic human condition is found through social organisation. The dissertation analyses this by looking at forms of conflict resolution, and different approaches to political organisation. Overall, the dissertation investigates how Homer portrays the complex dynamic between the negativity of mortality and suffering and their potential positive consequences, such as human solidarity. The depiction of suffering puts the emphasis on the losses and grief that war creates, rather than the glory the heroes are hoping to gain. Furthermore, the desire for a glorious end on the battlefield is counterbalanced by the great feat and hatred of death found throughout the poem and an intense love for live and its beauties.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available