This article focuses on those Iliadic characters who fall in battle to the poem’s major heroes. Homer has various ways to make these characters minor, such as through processes of obscuring or typification or by focusing on a specific body part. By making a character minor, the poet signals that we need not attend to him. After he makes a character minor, the poet can suggest that in the process of being made minor a character paradoxically ends up diverting attention from another character, or he can portray minorness as marked by an inability to divert attention from another. The poet can present in one episode these two different visions of minorness and can make one character depict another as minor by using the tactics deployed by the narrator. This study accentuates the narratological complexities that arise in the poet’s depiction of minor characters. That complexity shapes our understanding of the Iliad’s concern with the distribution of narrative attention among all its characters.
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Research Article| December 22 2020
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Jonathan L. Ready; Minor Characters in Homer’s Iliad. Classical Antiquity 22 December 2020; 39 (2): 284–329. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/ca.2020.39.2.284
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