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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24850

Title: Exile in Homeric Epic
Authors: Perry, Timothy
Advisor: Burgess, Jonathan
Department: Classics
Keywords: Classics
Issue Date: 1-Sep-2010
Abstract: This dissertation examines exile in Homeric epic and in particular the relationship between exile as a narrative motif and the thematic significance of exile in specific contexts. The Homeric exile motif is defined and found to include four stock elements involving the causes of exile, the role of compulsion in exile, the permanence of exile, and the possible outcomes of exile. The more thematic issues surrounding exile are also considered, especially in the light of ancient and modern theoretical discussions of exile. Three examples of exile in the Iliad and the Odyssey are then analyzed. In each case, close attention is paid to the way in which the exile narrative fits into the immediate context and is thematically relevant to it. The exile narrative delivered by Phoenix to Achilles in Iliad 9 is interpreted as an attempt to dissuade Achilles from carrying out his threat to abandon the expedition against Troy. More precisely, it is argued that Phoenix uses the parallels between his own exile and the situation facing Achilles to suggest that in abandoning the expedition Achilles would become something close to an exile himself, thereby compromising his heroic standing. It is argued that the ghost of the unburied Patroclus uses his exile narrative to Achilles in Iliad 23 to present his experience of death as a parallel to his experience of exile in life and does so in order to persuade Achilles to provide him with ‘hospitality’ in the form of burial, just as Achilles’ family provided Patroclus with hospitality as an exile. Finally, the false exile narrative delivered by Odysseus to Athena (disguised as a shepherd) in Odyssey 13 is interpreted as a reaction to Odysseus’ uncertainty as to whether or not he has reached Ithaca. It is argued that Odysseus uses his exile narrative to contrast the possibility that he is finally home with the possibility that he is still a nameless wanderer. The exile motif is found to be flexible enough to be adapted to the thematic requirements of the contexts in which these three exile narratives occur.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24850
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Classics - Doctoral theses

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