The Iliad "Not To Be Flung Aside Are The Glorious Gifts Of The Gods"

Simone Weil

"Not To Be Flung Aside Are The Glorious Gifts Of The Gods"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: In this, the tenth year of the seige of Troy, the troops of both armies are reviewed by their commanders before the battle. Paris, who really is the cause of the war inasmuch as he has claimed Helen as his reward for judging Aphrodite as the most beautiful of the goddesses, steps from the ranks and brashly dares any Greek to decide the battle in personal combat. When Menelaus, husband of Helen, accepts with a vengeance, Paris withdraws in terror, only to be chided by his brother Hector. Paris, after this speech, agrees to do battle with the outraged Greek:

"Hector, seeing that thou dost chide me duly, and not beyond what is due–ever is thy heart unyielding, even as an axe that is driven through a beam by the hand of a man that skilfully shapeth a ship's timber, and it maketh the force of his blow to wax; even so is the heart in thy breast undaunted–cast not in my teeth the lovely gifts of golden Aphrodite. Not to be flung aside, look you, are the glorious gifts of the gods, even all that of themselves they give, whereas by his own will could no man win them. . . ."