• Devin O'Donnell

Paris and Achilles: Two sides of the same (effeminate) man

Updated: Jan 14

Our culture is obviously confused about anthropology, bewildered by the identity and meaning masculinity and femininity, of what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman. But Homer was not confused. In Homer's world everything has its place, everything has a meaning. Consider the painting below...

Agenda for Wednesday:

  1. Prayer and catechism

  2. Discuss the symbolic imagery in J. H. W. Tischbein's "Hector and Paris"

  3. Share and turn in Book V Comic Illustrations

  4. Hermeneutics: continue the "Salt and Light" worksheet (you may work with neighbor)

  5. Discuss #7: Moral, Ceremonial, and Civil Laws in the OT

  6. Read the Iliad, Book IX up to line 245

  7. Notes on Paris and the "Embassy to Achilles," with a reflection to what manliness is

Agenda for Thursday:

  1. Prayer and catechism

  2. Hermeneutics: continue the "Salt and Light" worksheet (you may work with neighbor)

  3. Read the Iliad, Book IX


  1. Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. Pray, that you may not stumble.

  2. Bring Iliad books (We read Homer!)

  3. Read up to line 245 in Book IX


Here we find Hector of the flashing helmet, upbraiding his "soft" (malechoi) brother Paris, who is too much at home in the province of the Polis, which structurally represents the domain of women. This is not what a soldier or warrior is supposed to be doing. And although this is not where a warrior should be spending his time, he should not be completely out of place in the city. When a soldier comes to the place of the city or town, he should not be, as the saying goes, a "bull in a China shop." The ideal hero has, for all the butchery and blood of battle, not lost his sense of decorum and piety. He can, like Hector, moves freely from one world to the next, adjusting his behavior accordingly and appropriately.

Hector Admonishes Paris for His Softness and Exhorts Him to Go to War, J. H. W. Tischbein, (1751–1828)

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