Journal article Open Access

Achilles' views on death: succession and the Odyssey

Gainsford, Peter

Achilles' famous lines to Odysseus, on preferring to be alive rather than king of the dead (Od. 11.481-91), are popularly quoted as "typical" of early Greek views on death, even though they are definitely nothing of the sort. This paper outlines the five interpretive strategies most widely used in readings of this scene; argues that the lines should be read in context (rather than in isolation from the remaining five-sixths of the episode); and discusses the scene's paradigmatic nature for the story of Odysseus himself.

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2008. Achilles' views on death. Succession and time in the Odyssey. CB 84.2. 7-26.pdf
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