Although war was the solution to major conflicts during the Ancient Greek period, David Malouf highlights the superior notion of mediation. The occurrence of war and its consequences leads to a multitude of deaths, and thus pain and suffering for all those involved. Ultimately, while one side may prevail, the residing feelings of hostility from one team towards another will inevitably continue. On the other hand, peace can achieve resolution, redemption and even new hope since both sides can cooperate in the future. Hence, it is shown that negotiation is a better pathway than surging into war.
In this time, royalty was viewed as always superior to the common populace. Nevertheless, through the relationship of the king Priam and commoner Somax, it is shown that our social status only provides us a position of power or authority, yet does little to teach us the simplest lessons in life. Somax is shown to be far more informed and knowledgeable man than even the king, highlighting that regardless of our name and position, anyone can teach another human new experiences and teachings.
Ransom also suggests that no matter our age, whether young or old, it is never too late to change our ways. Although we may have created a comfortable mould over the years with our behaviour, opinions and actions, we always have time to create a transformation.
Additionally, a more philosophical purpose of the novel is displayed through the message that life comes and goes. As humans, the people and events in our lives are of the utmost importance to us. We experience a spectrum of emotions from contentment and pleasure to sorrow and pain. In the end however, as our lives are destined for death, the lessons that we learn also disappear with us. Thus, in the scheme of things, our lives are insignificant. As time continues on, the effect of our place in the world gradually fades away as new life and forms emerge once again.