RANSOM BY David Malouf
Make brief notes in your workbook to describe who each character is
Agamemnon Peleus Patroclus
Achilles Priam Briseis
Hermes Hector Hecuba
Thetis Iris Somax/Idaeus
Myrmidons Neoptelemus Polydamus
Automedon Helenus Cassandra
Homer’s epic poem, the Iliad, first started as an oral storytelling tradition dating from about 1100 BC, after the Trojan war.
It is part of the great oral tradition of storytelling in the English language, of which Shakespeare (the word “bard” is part of the tradition) and other famous writers are a part. The stories are of heroes and heroines, wars and epic battles, great deeds and gods. They explore human nature and behaviour through major events that can often span generations and involve whole societies.
The ancient city of Troy was roughly where the city of Truva is now located in Turkey. The first ruins were found in the 1800’s and excavations are still taking place. There is evidence that the ancient city was destroyed by war and rebuilt seven times.
The Iliad was first written down about 800 BC. There have been many translations since. Malouf takes a very small, very personal part of Book 24 of the Iliad and retells the story, exploring the choices faced by Priam, Achilles, Somax and others and examines human experience and human nature in extreme situations.
The text follows the great English tradition of narrative storytelling – to examine human behaviour. The story of Troy is not as important as looking at what the story tells us about human experience. In this sense, Malouf continues an ancient tradition of narrative.
The ancient Greek gods were highly respected and were often feared. The Greeks co-operated with them in fear of their powers. They believed that the gods took an active role – either benevolent or mischievous – in their daily lives. Their belief was that the gods could influence the physical...