Book 24 of Iliad and Euripides' Phoenician Women, Lines 446-638 Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1441 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature

Drama as a literary form and as a performance art was created in ancient Greece, coming to full fruition in the fifth century B.C., the era that produced works like the Phoenician Women by Euripides. The dramas developed from a religious festival and then became a celebration in itself, but the underlying impetus for drama has from the first been the depiction of conflict. Conflict is a necessary component in the drama and is also a necessary component in any literary form in some degree. The more ancient epic poems like The Iliad are also dramatic in tone, presenting conflict among characters in terms similar to those found in the drama. An epic poem is more like a novel than a play because the staged drama is a more concise and focused presentation of conflict, while any one section of a work like The Iliad can be lifted out as if it were a drama and constitute a separate instance of a drama or a dramatic moment. This can be seen specifically with reference to Book 24 as Priam comes to Achilleus' shelter to ransom the body of his son Hektor, a scene that fits into the totality of the poem but that also constitutes a separate dramatic moment complete in itself. This scene can be compared to a dramatic scene in a work like The Phoenician Women to show how each expresses the action in a dramatic way.

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In Book 24 of The Iliad, Priam follows the guidance of the gods and travels to the tent of Achilleus, the man who killed his son, and he is successful in his effort and so returns to Troy with the body of Hektor. This scene in this tent is "dramatic" in the sense that it is an encounter fraught with emotion and can be seen as the scene toward which the entire poem has been building. The Iliad is en epic poem telling a story on a broad canvas, covering many years of war, several important battles, conflicts among generals on both sides of the war, and interactions with the gods throughout. The war as a whole can be considered a great drama, while individual scenes in the poem can be seen as separate dramas involving human emotions, major themes of right and wrong, the intervention of the gods in the lives of human beings, and so on.

Term Paper on Book 24 of Iliad and Euripides' Phoenician Women, Lines 446-638 Assignment

The scene in Achilleus' tent does not exist in isolation. As with any drama, meaning is found not just in the action of the moment but in the history leading to that moment. The rest of the poem has brought the reader (or listener, as these poems were presented orally) to this point so that the reader knows of the reasons for the fighting, the arguments that have taken place, the inner character of Achilleus which affects how he behaves, the way Hektor died, the grief of the father and other Trojans, and even the outcome of the war. As with most Greek drama, the audience knows how the whole thing ends because the source is a well-known story, and drama emerges not just from what happens but from how it is shown as happening, from the details of character and the interaction between characters that constitutes drama.

All of these elements are presented in the epic poem, while in a drama, many of these elements would only be mentioned or would be left as knowledge the audience already has because they know the story. Drama is more selective, more concise, and more focused on the dramatic situation than on the sweep of a large-scale story. The dramatic situation in this one scene has shifts and turns even in the short time covered. Priam takes a ransom with him consisting of twelve robes, twelve cloaks, twelve blankets, twelve capes and shirts, ten bars of gold, two tripods, four cauldrons, and a Thracian cup. Priam arrives and immediately grasps Achilleus by the knees, telling of his grief and of the need for Achilleus to be compassionate and to return the body of Hektor. For his part, Achilleus speaks of his won victory by reminding Priam of all that the latter has lost, but he also shows that he is fully aware that the gods have guided Priam to this place and that he must… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Book 24 of Iliad and Euripides' Phoenician Women, Lines 446-638."  Essaytown.com.  October 19, 2005.  Accessed September 23, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/book-24-iliad-euripides-phoenician/17060.