Writing Assignment – Week 8

Upon awakening from his night with Hera, Zeus lays out the basic plot points for the rest of the epic (15.49-77). How does this narrative foretelling relate to Prof. Nagy’s argument about the importance, to the epic, of the will of Zeus? Further, in what ways is this sort of ‘spoiler’ a different narrative tactic from modern storytelling? Be sure to support your claims with specific citations from and references to the text (both in this scroll and others).

6 thoughts on “Writing Assignment – Week 8

  1. Nakia Browner

    Once Zeus awakens from his sleep, Hera immediately begins to push the blame off herself and onto her companion Poseidon. Zeus assure her that he is aware of the fate of Troy even though he continues to help them. Zeus does goes into details about the rest of the war, but it doesn’t take away from the book, it actually enhances it. He does in the most graceful manor even though he’s just merely informing Hera of her tirelessly efforts in the war. He tells her all of what is to come and the return of Achilles and his wrath for the vengeance for Patroclus which eventually foreshadows Hector’s death. The will of Zeus I believe is underestimated by the gods and some mortals. The other fail to notice that Zeus foresees everything and even though his actions aren’t as quick and swift or even as harsh as some would like doesn’t mean he not working at all. Zeus posses so much power that I feel he knows that he doesn’t have to boast it. When he revealed the remaining of the war to Hera, I felt it was his way of showing how he is ultimately in charge and knows the outcome regardless of how much help either side receives. This modern tactic for storytelling is just on the border on spoiler alerts, but the way this literary device is used, its perfect placing for the story and is disguised in a way that doesn’t spoils the story but instead anticipates the upcoming events.

    1. Rachel Altier

      I agree with you, I do think that the other gods and the mortals have a tendency to underestimate how much the will of Zeus affects what happens in the war. When Zeus lays out what he knows is going to happen for the rest of the war, he is simply saying things that he has known the entire time that the war has been going on. This is not the first time that he has tried to convince the other gods to not take part in the war, but it is the first time that Hera or any other god has listened to the idea. I do not think that they realized just how much he knew when he didn’t lay everything out on the table like he does in this scene. That is why she listens now but did not listen before this point.

    2. Joseph Reid

      Great post nakia, i agree with everything you said especially when hera puts the pressure onto poseidon and i think its because she was afraid of zeus and his might. He does tell her all of what is to come and the return of Achilles and his wrath for the vengeance for Patroclus which eventually foreshadows Hector’s death. He also says that Apollo will restore hector’s strength so he can rout the Greeks. I love how you concluded saying that this modern tactic for storytelling is just on the border on spoiler alerts, but its perfect pacing for the story

    3. Hanna Gilley

      I do agree with you said about Zeus possessing much power, however I feel he boasts about it all the time with his womanly conquests (but maybe that’s a topic for another day). I agree with you as well, I think he told Hera the outcome of the war not only to remind her and others (Poseidon) that he knows better than them, but also to stop their meddling which interferes with his plans. The conversation between Zeus and Hera was definitely not a foreshadowing as we see in today’s current literature and film but was more of a “spoiler” as you said. It seems like a literary device Homer used to help keep himself on track (possibly, maybe) but more likely to keep the audience in check, as you said, “anticipating the upcoming events.”

  2. Rachel Altier

    I also do not think that it is too different from modern opinions on spoilers. While there is an aversion to spoilers with modern audiences, there are also stories that are very well known within our culture, and everyone knows how those stories end. The Iliad was an oral tradition for years before it was ever written down, and I do think that if it was that ingrained and well known before it was ever written down, then it is possible this section was added later on. It could have been that the story was so well known within the culture that a spoiler warning was not needed, as everyone already knew how the story would end, similarly to how everyone knows the ending of Wizard of Oz in our culture.

  3. Nakia Browner

    I understand where you are coming from but I do think the story is written the way it is spoken orally. This literary technique that Homer used was a risky one but one that proved to intrigue his audiences even more than turn them away. Homer knew that if he kept going on and on misleading his listeners and not really giving them to look forward to it would eventually bore them and the story would go on for many more books before anyone knew about Achilles return or the death of Hector. These were his bate for his audiences.


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