THE FURY OF ACHILLES – THE ARMY MUSTERS
A world torn apart; a world forcibly stitched back together.
Book 1. The king and his greatest warrior fall apart. The connection between death and splendour, basic to heroic poetry, is sundered. Anger rips through the world of the poem. The allure of heroic warfare is threatened.
The audience can no longer look forward with confidence to the enchantments promised in the singing. How can the story start again?
Book 2 sets out to answer that. The king asserts his authority. And immediately undercuts it. He tells a lie. The game is up; the war is lost; all should go to the ships and sail back home. He does not, of course, mean it. The words are meant to test the mettle of the troops. Instead, they reveal the folly of the king. Chaos erupts, quelled only by the violence of Odysseus, directed at the most hapless of the soldiers.
The army is forced back to camp. And in this most unattractive environment we are asked to go back in time and experience anew one of the grand performance pieces in heroic poetry, the departure of a great fleet of ships to conquer a foreign city.
From this fractured starting point the poem must find a way to move forward once again.