The Siege and Fall of Troy

by Robert Graves
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Last Updated on May 9, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 195

In The Siege and Fall of Troy Graves provides a modern retelling of Homer's epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Graves relates the whole story of Troy, from its founding by Prince Scamander to the homecomings of the Greek heroes who survived the Trojan War. In his introduction to the book, Graves states: "English literature, to be properly understood, calls for as close a knowledge of the Trojan War as of the Bible: Helen's beauty, Odysseus' cunning, Hector's noble courage, Achilles' vulnerable heel, Ajax's madness, Agamemnon's murder, have all become proverbial."

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But this work is more than a shortcut for learning the sources of classical allusions. According to Graves, the situations in which the characters repeatedly find themselves encompass "all the evils commonly found in war on a large scale—ambition, greed, cruelty, treachery, incompetence." The tale also demonstrates the qualities of friendship, loyalty, inventiveness, courage, and love.

Homer's story is twenty-seven hundred years old, but human nature remains unchanged. As the heroes of the tale discover, all actions have consequences, some predictable and some not. This story about men and women in the most trying circumstances encourages readers to ponder the human condition.

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Characters