[Milton-L] Adam's better half

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Tue Aug 17 00:32:23 EDT 2010


What makes Achilles such a towering and poignant figure, it has always
seemed to be, is the visceral way in whiich he _knows_ he is going to
die, not just abstractly but  as a part of his very being.

When the gods enter the battle, taking sides, it seems very near to
farce.

Carrol

"Mario A. DiCesare" wrote:
> 
> Dear Salwa,
> 
> I recall the same notion, rooted in the conclusion of the first book,
> where Hephaistos tells the story echoed at the end of Book One of
> "Paradise Lost." The point of the story is that, however angry Zeus may
> have been at Hephaistos for taking the part of Hera, Hephaistos not only
> survived to tell his tale but he became a kind of favorite; he
> 
>                         poured drinks for the other
>     gods, dipping up from the mixing bowl the sweet nectar.
>      But among the blessed immortals uncontrollable laughter
>     went up as they saw Hephaistos bustling about the palace.
> 
> The point is that the gods are deathless, that the threat of death
> doesn't affect them as it does us poor mortals. Thus, in an important
> sense, what the gods do doesn't really matter. Even that offspring of
> the gods in the "Odyssey", Alkinous, son of Poseidon, has no particular
> sense of death; he thinks of tales of death and destruction as
> pleasantries provided for their entertainment.
> 
> Cheers,
> 
> Mario A. DiCesare
> 
> Salwa Khoddam wrote:
> > Carrol Cox wrote: "But as I remember, this laughter of the gods [in
> > the Iliad] is part of the
> > clusters of imagery and incidents which established the superiority of
> > mortals to gods."
> > This is a very interesting idea, but where in the Iliad are there
> > examples of the "laughter of the gods"?  I do agree  that Homer
> > suggests that men are superior to the gods.
> > Best regards,
> > Salwa Khoddam
> >
> > Salwa Khoddam, Ph.D.
> > Professor of English, Emerita
> > Oklahoma City University
> > 2501 N. Blackwelder
> > OKC, OK  73106
> > Phone:  405-208-5127
> > Email:  skhoddam at cox.net
> > ----- Original Message ----- From: "Carrol Cox" <cbcox at ilstu.edu>
> > To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> > Sent: Sunday, August 15, 2010 7:52 PM
> > Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Adam's better half
> >
> >
> >>
> >>
> >> Harold Skulsky wrote:
> >>>
> >>> Aristophanes tells the myth with a straight face, but (as with the
> >>> Lysistrata and elsewhere in the corpus Aristophanicum) the
> >>> playwright lodges sexuality squarely on the comic (anti-tragic?)
> >>> side of the proscenium arch. Even when the partners are no less than
> >>> Ares and Aphrodite herself, our shenanigans in bed evoke, as another
> >>> older Greek poet says, "the inextinguishable laughter of the gods"
> >>> (asbestos gelos theon).
> >>
> >> It's been too long since I last reread the Iliad, and I may have this
> >> all wrong. But as I remember, this laughter of the gods is part of the
> >> clusters of imagery and incidents which established the superiority of
> >> mortals to gods: because the gods cannot die, their actions become
> >> pointless. Their inextinguishable laughter exhibits that pointlessness.
> >>
> >> Carrol
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