Divine Appearance: Achilles in the Illiad

Glenn Arbery examines Achilles in the Illiad.

Many students consider Hector the real hero of the Iliad, but they fail to see the tremendous integrity underlying Achilles’ demand for honor, which is really an instance on justice. It is necessary that what he is – the most divine of mortals – be recognized as such, which means that his greatness must show itself as fully as possible under the limited conditions of mortal life. Zeus fashions the plan: Achilles has to disappear from much of the poem in order to be seen in his full glory. His emergence at the end embodies what truth, aletheia, means for the early Greeks: coming out of hiddenness into shining presence and appearance.

Glenn Arbery

Senior Editor, People Newspapers and Adjunct Professor at University of Dallas

After finishing his degree at the University of Dallas, Glenn Arbery taught literature at the University of St. Thomas in Houston and Thomas More College in New Hampshire. In 1997, he returned to Dallas to become director of the Teachers Academy at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. For seven years there, he taught graduate courses and directed the Summer Institute for Teachers, an intensive graduate course in classic texts of the Western tradition. His Book "Why Literature Matters" appeared in 2001 from ISI Books. For the Dallas Institute Press, he edited "The Tragic Abyss," the third volume in the series on literary genre under the general editorship of Louise Cowan. In 2003, he became a senior editor with People Newspapers and a contributing editor of D Magazine, where he has won state, regional, and national awards for his writing. He is currently editing a collection of essays by the Southern critics John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren, and Donald Davidson.

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