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Dearness and death in the Iliad
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Linguistics and Philology. Uppsala University, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4043-0294
2019 (English)In: Cogent Arts and Humanities, E-ISSN 2331-1983, Vol. 6, no 1, article id 1686803Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Readers have often pointed out that representations of dying warriors in the Iliad, despite the impersonal, unreflective, heterodiegetic form of narration, are typically suffused with a certain pathos. What do we mean by "pathos" in this context? It is argued that we are referring to a group of distinguishable emotions related to affiliative attachment, elicited by a number of recurring motifs or situation types. Characters perceived as dear and as embodying dear principles are vulnerable, suffer and die, eliciting tenderness, compassion and grief, but also being moved and poignancy. Conceptualizations and expressions of these emotions in the Homeric text are discussed. It is further argued that the recurrent appeals to these emotions throughout the poem cannot be defended against the charge of sentimentality by merely referring to the "noble restraint" manifested by the narrator's dispassionate tone in this context. The ruptured affiliative bonds that form the basis for this pathos are not contemplated in an isolated, undisturbed fashion, but they are crucially presented as existing in opposition to other kinds of affective motivations that push and pull the Homeric heroes in other directions. Dearness makes a brave but futile stand against other values, pleasures and desires that also endow heroic life with meaning, especially the quest for eternal fame.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 6, no 1, article id 1686803
Keywords [en]
Iliad, death, pathos, emotion, dearness, being moved, kama muta
National Category
Specific Literatures
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-397941DOI: 10.1080/23311983.2019.1686803ISI: 000496264800001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-397941DiVA, id: diva2:1382332
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Riksbankens JubileumsfondAvailable from: 2020-01-02 Created: 2020-01-02 Last updated: 2020-01-02Bibliographically approved

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Cullhed, Eric
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Citation style
  • apa
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  • Other locale
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