Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Epic Poetry

Last semester, here at BYU, I took Dr. Matthew Ancell's humanities course on Western Literature.  It was life changing (if anyone has the time to take it, DO IT).  After the Old Testament, the first literature we approached was the ancient Grecian society's epic poetry, namely The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer.  At the time, these poems were recited as performances, with the speaker memorizing the entire piece (Both works are lengthy).  I had read abridged versions of each prior, but this time through was different.  

I learned to appreciate and love the works that had always seemed to be a hassle before, despite the theme of external value being the most important being present in society at the time. 

An example of this theme in The Iliad is near the end, when the Trojans' soon to be defeat is evident, Hector (the trojan king who) is faced with the decision of retreating or facing Achilles which undoubtedly means facing death.  Retreating means a loss respect while dying salvages up some pride for him.  The most important and admired role of the culture was to be important and admired, so of course Hector chooses death, leaving behind his family who begs him not to go. These values contribute to the "Culture of the Superlatives," valuing solely external honor. 

1 comment:

  1. I loved my Humanities class I took last semester! It has helped to prepared me for some of the things we are learning in this class as well. I agree it is a course worth taking and does help you see things differently.