Ransom

Humanity in the Face of War 12th Grade

Malouf’s Ransom explores the brutality of war and how this can result in the loss of humanity for some, given that the grief of loss overpowers all other senses. The bloodlust and thirst for vengeance evident in Achilles and Hecuba’s thoughts and actions underscore the ravages of war on the human condition, and particularly for the former, how roles set by a deterministic universe can exacerbate this. However, the novel suggests that inhumanity does not necessarily perpetuate, and the ability for new thoughts give rise to the opportunity to transcend one’s grief, as reflected in Priam’s envisioning of ‘something new’. Consequently, the king’s new experiences with Somax highlight that one’s humanity can be restored through the agency of another. In turn, Priam’s plea to Achilles and their bond in mutual fatherhood despite being traditional adversaries in wartime demonstrates the possibility of unprecedented compassion to exist even in the most uncertain of times.

The reality of war lies with death and the grief that results, which often tends to override one’s capacity for understanding and sympathy. In the ‘rough world of men’ and warfare, the loss of his soul mate Patroclus sees Achilles’ capability for human emotions to be...

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