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EnragedWhy Violent Times Need Ancient Greek Myths$
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Emily Katz Anhalt

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300217377

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300217377.001.0001

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Violence, Vengeance, and a Glimpse of Victory (Iliad 10–24)

Violence, Vengeance, and a Glimpse of Victory (Iliad 10–24)

(p.80) 4 Violence, Vengeance, and a Glimpse of Victory (Iliad 10–24)

Emily Katz Anhalt

Yale University Press

This chapter examines how the Iliad's emphasis on the essential equality of all human beings in their mortality and suffering devalues vengeance and promotes empathy. The theme of vengeance dominates the story in the final third of the Iliad. We see that Achilles begins to suspect that his rage has not served him well thus far, for he wishes that strife and anger would vanish entirely from the lives of gods and mortals. The chapter shows the Iliad's focus on the essential mortality and humanity of warriors on both sides of the conflict. The Iliad, it argues, reminds its audience that indulging in rage and violent revenge is self-destructive. By devaluing rage and promoting empathy as a more therapeutic alternative, Homer's epic reveals the possibility that verbal debate might replace physical combat.

Keywords:   equality, mortality, vengeance, empathy, Achilles, rage, anger, Iliad, humanity, verbal debate

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