The Heart of Achilles: Characterization and Personal Ethics in the Iliad

Overview

In The Heart of Achilles, Graham Zanker addresses the task of reconstructing the ethical thought-world in which the characters of the Iliad live and move. It is only against this background, Zanker argues, that we can convincingly place the ethical status of the heroes and their actions. This in turn helps us to form a comprehensive view of the Iliad's characterization of its people, especially that of Achilles by examining all his responses to the question of allegiance, the value of heroic prowess, and of life ...
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Overview

In The Heart of Achilles, Graham Zanker addresses the task of reconstructing the ethical thought-world in which the characters of the Iliad live and move. It is only against this background, Zanker argues, that we can convincingly place the ethical status of the heroes and their actions. This in turn helps us to form a comprehensive view of the Iliad's characterization of its people, especially that of Achilles by examining all his responses to the question of allegiance, the value of heroic prowess, and of life itself. This volume is Zanker's contribution to the vital debate rising from A. W. H. Adkins' work on the Iliad. Adkins traced unkinder, ungentler values in the epic. Zanker settles the resulting heated debate by his consideration of the relations between the quieter drives and the competitive incentives, by closely examining the Priam-Achilles scene (not treated by Adkins), and by showing how the epic demonstrates that transcending the values held by one's group is most extraordinary. This volume is intended for the specialist and nonspecialist alike; no knowledge of Greek is required to follow the argument. Students of Greek literature and ethics as well as those of morality more broadly defined will find much of value in The Heart of Achilles.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472084005
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/1996
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 6.05 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Motives for Cooperation in the Iliad 1
Ch. 2 Values in Tension 47
Ch. 3 Achilles' Disaffection 73
Ch. 4 A Brief Resolution: Achilles and Priam 115
Ch. 5 The Magnanimity of Achilles 127
Bibliography 155
Index 161
Index of Passages 171
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