Ransom Literary Elements


Adapted Greek myth

Setting and Context

Outside ancient Greece, in the city of Troy, during the events related in the last parts of Homer's Iliad

Narrator and Point of View

The book is written in the third-person omniscient perspective by an unknown narrator.

Tone and Mood

The book is quiet, reflective, and melancholy, with strong elements of foreboding.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Achilles and Priam are on opposite sides of the major conflict, but are both protagonists.

Major Conflict

After killing Hector in revenge for his killing of Patroclus, Achilles offends the gods and mortals by lashing Hector's body to the back of his chariot and driving around Patroclus' funeral pyre. Priam is heartbroken at this mistreatment of his son's body and decides to try and ransom Hector's body.


Achilles and Priam meet in the middle of the Greek camp, where Achilles agrees to give back Hector's body.


Throughout the novel, the narrator and the protagonists are very aware of how both Achilles' and Priam's deaths are looming on the horizon—particularly Achilles'.



Most of the allusions in this text are to different gods, characters, and places readers might not be familiar with. Jove, the gods, Agamemnon, etc. are all figures that are important to the story of the Trojan War but are not directly referenced in this work.


There's a lot of visual description in this book and a lot of detail paid to the way things look, but the most important image to remember is that of Hector's body.



The parallels drawn in Ransom are mostly between multiple people who are fathers and/or sons. With Achilles, Priam, and Somax, fatherhood establishes a parallel between them, and Achilles and Hector are paralleled in the sense that they are both sons.

Metonymy and Synecdoche


The sea and the earth are both associated with human qualities, specifically the idea of mortality.