Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I Digress...

This often happens to me. I find myself going off on tangents; be it in conversation with people, my writing, or just my own thoughts. This digression comes to you by way of The Iliad. I know, you're thinking: "Sidd should be talking about love poetry, not the stupid Iliad, I haven't looked at that thing in months!" But the passage I want to talk about really makes me want to blog!

The passage comes in Book 16 ('A Ship Fired, A Tide Turned') and it starts at about line 845 and goes to 861. It happens right before Patroklos gets killed. A brief synopsis: Pat takes a special stone that he has been saving and throws it at Hektor's chariot, it hits his driver Kebriones. Keb quickly dies and tumbles out of the chariot; Pat makes fun of him as he tumbles on to the ground, dead. Here's the description of Keb getting killed.

...He [Pat] aimed and braced himself and threw the stone
and scored a direct hit on Hektor's driver,
Kebriones, a bastard son of Priam,
smashing his forehead with the jagged stone.
Both brows were hit at once, the frontal bone
gave way, and both his eyes burst from their sockets
dropping into the dust before his feet,
as like a diver from the handsome car
he plummeted, and life ebbed from his bones.

Man this poem is graphically violent!
Now, before you all think I'm sick for thinking this part of the story amusing, you must read what Pat says to the dying Keb. He's the sick one for saying this!

"God, what a nimble fellow, somersaulting!
If he were out at sea in the fishing grounds
this man could feed a crew, diving for oysters,
going overboard even in rough water,
the way he took that earth-dive from his car.
The Trojans have their acrobats, I see."

Wow! Pat thinks this is the most amusing thing in the world! Watching a man who just got his eyes smashed tumble to his death. Besides being ridiculously facetious, violent and kinda funny, Pat does use some interesting metaphors. Like comparing the way Kebriones falls to a fisherman diving for oysters. We've all seen (and/or tried) diving (of some kind or another), at least once in our lives. This metaphor paints a clear image of a man diving, head first, into the ground. The other metaphor I like is the way Pat compares the battlefield to rough water. One can imagine the battlefield looking like a choppy sea, and it is just as perilous. And with all the hewn bodies around them, the battlefield may literally look like a sea of blood.
I'll leave you all with that image in your mind!


Blogger Annie Wong said...

eww....i never really pay close attention to these scenes. I can't stomach it...and the metaphors just make it worse. But now that you mentioned it, I never realized how much of a jerk these guys are.

Sometimes i feel sorry for the Trojans.

January 23, 2005 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger Mr_Mokund a.k.a .:Ukiyo Zoshi:. said...

Let's face, people like graphic, descriptive things. I guess it is just human nature. Maybe thats why humans are innately evil.. because they'd rather see the remains of person who got it by two trains, rather then the news (or maybe thats why they watch the news). Anyways..I just wanted to comment on the second metaphor.. the rough sea.. I can totally sea this image in my head which is why it is such an impressive metaphor. Also, I was thinking how the sea gives and takes, maybe that could be the relation between the immense loss of life and the rewards for the victor..whether it be land, sheep, or honor.

January 30, 2005 at 5:38 AM  
Blogger Mary said...


January 10, 2010 at 12:38 PM  

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