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In a word, Homer refused to treat the theme tragically. Another author who preferred to tell the Whole Truth was Fielding.“Tom Jones” is one of the very few Odyssean books written in Europe between the time of Aeschylus and the present age; Odyssean, because never tragical; never—even when painful and disastrous, even when pathetic and beautiful things are happening.The survivors could only look on helplessly, while Scylla “at the mouth of her cave devoured them, still screaming, still stretching out their hands to me in the frightful struggle.” And Odysseus adds that it was the most dreadful and lamentable sight he ever saw in all his “explorings of the passes of the sea.” We can believe it; Homer’s brief description (the too poetical simile is a later interpolation) convinces us.
There were six of them, the best and bravest of the hero’s companions.
Turning back from his post in the bows, Odysseus was in time to see them lifted, struggling, into the air, to hear their screams, the desperate repetition of his own name.
In any other poem but the Odyssey, what would the survivors have done?
They, would, of course, have wept, even as Homer made them weep.
But would they previously have cooked their supper and cooked it, what’s more, in a masterly fashion?
Essays On Tragedy Comparing Hinduism And Buddhism Essay
Would they previously have drunk and eaten to satiety?
Fielding, it is obvious, adored her; (she is said to have been created in the image of his first, much-loved wife).
But in spite of his adoration, he refused to turn her into one of those chemically pure and, as it were, focussed beings who do and suffer in the world of tragedy.
For among the things they don’t shirk are the irrelevancies which, in actual life, always temper the situations and characters that writers of tragedy insist on keeping chemically, pure.
Consider, for example, the case of Sophy Western, that most charming, most nearly perfect of young women.