Mimetic Theory, Sacrifice, and The Iliad?
Keywords:Girard, mimesis, violence, Homeric sacrifice, poetics, Iliad
This essay strives to apply Girard’s mimetic theory to Homeric sacrifice scenes, poetic characterizations, and the plot of the Iliad. The theory is found to be wanting at the level of sacrifice scenes, and barely salient at the levels of poetic characterization and plot. On the whole, Girard’s theory of sacrifice is anachronistic for the Iliad, and the Iliad’s poetic characterizations, particularly of Achilles, defy the lack of interiority presumed by Girard’s mimetic theory. However, Girard’s discussion of our fascination with violence does resonate with the Homeric Weltanschauung, as well as with persistent themes in ancient Near Eastern literature and art.
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