Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Illiad - Homer

I'll be honest by stating that I have no idea which version I read - I read this online and it was translated into prose rather than verse.

Homer's Epic tale of the fall of the Trojans is more about the warrior Achilles and his battle within himself. True the tale begins with the great insult and ends with the funeral of Hector, but the story really revolves around Achilles.

Even through it was translated into English, I can't help but feel that there was something lost - perhaps it is the shifting from verse to prose, whatever it may be, there is a feeling of distance the reader has from the story. The tale itself is brilliant, brutal, heartbreaking, and epic, but the words in the version I read really didn't grab and pull me in as I had hoped. I spent much of the time I was reading this struggling to keep going. Specifically when the gods began their bickering.

I was also confused in this translation in that the God's names were changed to the Roman names rather than the Greek ones (I do own a copy of this in Verse and I recall the names being in Greek - I just hate reading verse so I thought I'd try it in prose first). I had to pull up a wiki to get the Roman to Greek name translations for some of the lesser known gods.

I have to admit that after watching and loving the movie Troy (which is based off of the Illiad) I was disappointed that Hector was less likable in the original tale then he was in the movie. Also Paris was only briefly mentioned.

I would recommend that everyone read at least some version of this story - it's such an incredible tale. Just make sure you check out the translation before buying it.

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