By Julian Barnes
This is often, briefly, an entire, unsettling, and often exhilarating imaginative and prescient of the area, beginning with the voyage of Noah's ark and finishing with a sneak preview of heaven!
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Extra resources for A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters
Finally, however, he was slain by Hector. After much difficulty, the Greeks were able to secure his naked body and they withdrew with it to their lines. Achilles, deeply grieved at the loss of his friend, refused to permit the rites of burial until he had avenged the death of Patroclus. This he did and the funeral occurred with the slaughter of twelve Trojan men over the body of Patroclus. Penelope here is very much concerned that Patroclus had been unable to survive by utilizing deceit. Clearly, her fear is that Ulysses, who is known for his skill at using deceits, might also fail to survive.
While Medon is here called ‘cruel’, in point of fact in the Odyssey his life is spared by Ulysses when Telemachus requests it. While Ovid and his readers would have known the outcome of the story, in fact Penelope as she writes this could not have foreseen the consequences of Ulysses’ return. As the story is told in the Odyssey, Antinous was the first to die when Ulysses and Telemachus charged the banqueting hall. After the death of Antinous, Ulysses revealed himself to the suitors, and Eurymachus tried to lay the blame for all the waste and depredation on the dead man.
She urges him to prosecute the war so that peace may quickly be won and he can return to her. At the same time she knows of an oracle which prophesies the death of the first Greek to set foot on Trojan soil. Though it must seem improbable that this one man out of so many should be the one to die in this way, the reader already knows that in fact Protesilaus will impetuously jump from his ship and soon enough become the first Greek casualty. While Laodamia is being most conventional in her plea that Protesilaus hurry home to her, the fact is that even if he survived the war he would not be free to return until the war had ended.
A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes