Epic facework: self-presentation and social interaction in Homer
Homer's characters are often very far from an unreflecting struggle for status at others' expense. Rather than being a 'zero-sum game', their negotiations can be of an impressive delicacy, designed to protect the 'face' of the other. Gifts and visible deference are important measures of honour, but characters also care about what others really feel. This sensitive study reveals that at the beginnings of (surviving) Greek literature Homer's audience is expected to appreciate psychology and self-control of a very high order. Literary analysts, historians, anthropologists and indeed archaeologists will have much to learn here about the general level of sophistication of the historic and prehistoric societies which generated such deeply civilized poetry.
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accept Achaeans Achilles acknowledges action actually Agamemnon Agamemnon's face Agamemnon's speech aidds aitios Ajax Alcinous anger angry Antilochus apology Argives argues army assembly athletic Atreus audience battle behavior blame blame-shifting boast boundless ransom Briseis Calchas cause Chryseis Chryses claims compensation competition Danaans deference Diomedes ejiei Embassy epic Eumelus Euryalus Eurymachus evaluation face-loss face-threat father feel fight Furthermore gift-exchange gifts give glory gods Hector Helen Hephaestus Hera hero heroic Homeric characters honor icai ical Idomeneus Iliad implicitly implies insists insult jioivTi kill kleos kudos Laodamas leaders lose face Lycaon Menelaus Meriones narrator Nestor Odysseus off-record offense offer outcome Paris Patroclus person Phaeacians Phoenix praise prestige Priam prize quarrel rebuke refuses remedial exchange reminds response revenge says seems situation social someone speaker speaks status Sthenelus story strategy suggests suitors Telemachus tells Thersites threat tion Trojans Troy Tydeus valor victory warrior word zero-sum Zeus