The Australian author David Malouf based his novel Ransom on the myths from Homer’s Iliad, including the death of Patroclus (Book 16), episode when Achilles kills Hector (Book 22), the funeral of Patroclus (Book 23) and visit of Priam to Achilles (Book 24). However, although the author uses the ancient stories, his attention is concentrated on the demonstration of the spiritual evolution of the heroes and the nature of their relations.
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For Homer, the major explanation of the all events is the power of gods and fate, while Malouf emphasizes the human side. In this case, the essence of titles, class and identity plays a significant role in the narration as the explanation of the human behavior and the reasons of the social conflicts.
For Malouf, the superior position of the mediator is a key moment of the war. While many people are involved in the conflicts, while they suffer and die, it is possible to find a peaceful solution. The author emphasizes a role of negotiations as well as the importance of the leader who can start or stop the war using his authority and power.
Thus, the author describes the relations between king Priam and commoner Somax, demonstrating that the social status is not the main reason of being leader or to start the war. Although Priam is a king, he is too young to be leader. In this situation, Somas is seen as the more competent, experienced and knowledgeable and, thereby, more authoritative. However, in the ancient Greece, titles were the main element and royalty was seen as the superior and even mystified.
Malouf describes the personal search of three men for the self-determination. They feel the limits of their social roles and want to be etched in the annals of history. For instance, Achilles who has a divine origin and lives on the border of the mortal world and divine identifies himself as a human and wants to protect his folk. He is a great warrior and, at the same, time he is a human-being with its strong and weak sides.
In case of Priam, even his name highlights his royal origin and destination as the great king. He indicates himself as the protector of his country.
Malouf indicates an absence of the differences between the personal and social and political interests of kings. The royal class in this story is shown as the great rulers, protectors of the population who do not divide the personal and public.
For the heroes, the personal is considered only jointly with the public and for the ruler only that event is good which is good for the whole nation. It is a nature of the heroism in the era of wars and violence. Priam tries to understand when will be the time for him to expose the humanity.
Analyzing novel Ransom, it is possible to conclude that the author sees the titles as the key element of the authority and leading position in the ancient Greece. At the same time, all representatives of royal class in this novel are brave and selfless, in some extent, they even better than the ordinary citizens.
They identify themselves as the defenders and they are ready to die in order to protect the country. Obviously, such humanist thoughts emphasize the legend-making nature of the story.