Sunday, April 18, 2021

Homer’s Humor: Laughter in 'The Iliad'

Robert H. Bell at The Imaginative Conservative.

"Four sequences in the Iliad illustrate the range and complexity of Homeric humor: the Olympian squabble at the end of Book I, Thersites’ intervention at the Greek war council in Book II, Hera’s seduction of Zeus in Book XIV, and the battle of the gods in Book XXI. Why characters in the Iliad laugh, and why readers are invited and entitled to laugh, are complicated issues. Quite distinct kinds of humor emerge from and contribute to the epic’s predominantly tragic, painfully serious project. In Homer’s myriad-minded narrative, it is often but a step from the sublime to the ridiculous—and the reverse."

See Homer in Great Books of the Western World (first edition, 52 Vol., 1952) volume 4, and (second edition, 60 Vol., 1990) volume 3.

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