Achilles' Views on Death: Succession and the Odyssey

Classical Bulletin 84.2: 7-26, 2008

20 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2015

See all articles by Peter Gainsford

Peter Gainsford

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

Achilles' famous lines to Odysseus, on preferring to be alive rather than king of the dead (Od. 11.481-91), are popularly quoted as "typical" of early Greek views on death, even though they are definitely nothing of the sort. This paper outlines the five interpretive strategies most widely used in readings of this scene; argues that the lines should be read in context (rather than in isolation from the remaining five-sixths of the episode); and discusses the scene's paradigmatic nature for the story of Odysseus himself.

Keywords: Homer, Death, Thanatology, Epic, Odyssey, Odysseus

JEL Classification: Z00

Suggested Citation

Gainsford, Peter, Achilles' Views on Death: Succession and the Odyssey (2008). Classical Bulletin 84.2: 7-26, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2665953

Peter Gainsford (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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