The Story of the Iliad: A Dramatic Retelling of Homer's Epic and the Last Days of Troy
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Award-winning poet Simon Armitage dramatizes the story of Troy, animating this classic epic for a new generation of readers.
Following his highly acclaimed dramatization of the Odyssey, Simon Armitage here takes on the fate of Troy, bringing Homer’s Iliad to life with refreshing imaginative vision. In the final days of the Trojan War, the Trojans and the Greeks are caught in a bitter stalemate. Exhausted and desperate after ten years of warfare, gods and men battle among themselves for the glory of recognition and a hand in victory. Cleverly intertwining the Iliad and the Aeneid, Armitage poetically narrates the tale of Troy to its dire end, evoking a world plagued by deceit, conflict, and a deadly predilection for pride and envy. As with the Odyssey, Armitage reveals the echoes of ancient myth in our contemporary war-torn landscape, and reinvigorates the classic epics with adventure, passion, and, surprisingly, Shakespearean wit.
Praise for The Odyssey: A Dramatic Retelling of Homer’s Epic:
“So superb. . . . Armitage ’s love of the Greek epic is evident in almost every line.”—New York Times
can keep her, do what he wants with her, until his bed breaks or his fat heart bursts. Briseis turns and runs from the tent. Mighty Agamemnon! Building his ditches and walls, driving in stakes, and all of it useless. Why? Because without Achilles fighting his battles and inspiring his men, he’s no king at all, for all his crowns and robes, just a man in a dress. If the Greek ships are going up in flames then tell him to fetch a bucket of water from the sea. If his fighters are dying around him,
his nose and lips, and death’s dark cape spreads over him. The living steal in to salvage armour, to claim a helmet or shield as a prize, to drag their dead back to their own side. The Trojans rally, the Trojans pull back. The Greeks push forward, the Trojans rally again, the Greeks fall back. SCENE TWO Achilles’ tent. Achilles is packing his personal effects into boxes and crates. Odysseus enters, hauling a rolled cloth on a cart. ACHILLES You again. We’ve said all that needs to be said. No
His own weight in Turkish delight, is it? His eldest daughter dipped in gold? Still no response. Achilles senses Odysseus’ mood. What’s in the sack, Odysseus? Something underhand? One of Agamemnon’s dirty tricks? ODYSSEUS Not from Agamemnon. ACHILLES Then from yourself, Odysseus? ODYSSEUS Not from Odysseus. Not from any of the Greeks. From Troy. From Hector. Pause. ACHILLES An hour ago, I saw tears in the eyes of my black stallion. Just the salt in the wind I thought. But when a horse
too tight. ANDROMACHE Pull it tighter. Let him know how a stranglehold feels. PARIS (loosening the rope) Let’s see if he can breathe a few words of truth first. SINON I am Sinon, a Greek. PARIS Yes, yes, we’ve established that. SINON The gods visited the camp. The brightness was blinding. A golden array. They said we violated sacred earth, holy ground. PRIAM The gods recognise our land and people. I always believed so. ANDROMACHE It’s a trick. They’re born liars. PRIAM Why did
from the battlements, and every woman gang-raped and dragged off to Greece in leg-irons and chains. Every woman and child, including my own. Pause. I go too far. PARIS I know what I am in your eyes. How I compare. HECTOR Give me the weapons. I’ll take your place. PARIS Like you, I am what I am, Hector. Aphrodite gave me my talents and gifts, and most of my life I’ve been thankful for them. HECTOR There are plenty that envy you. PARIS Even you on occasions. HECTOR On occasions.