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The Tears of Achilles

The Tears of Achilles

Hélène Monsacré

Translated by Nicholas J. Snead

ISBN 9780674975682

Publication date: 01/15/2018

Achilles—warrior and hero—by the protocols of Western culture, should never cry. And yet Homeric epic is full of his tears and those of his companions at Troy. This path-blazing study by Hélène Monsacré shows how later ideals of stoically inexpressive manhood run contrary to the poetic vision presented in the Iliad and Odyssey. The epic protagonists, as larger-than-life figures who transcend gender categories, are precisely the men most likely to weep.

Monsacré pursues the paradox of the tearful fighter through a series of lucid and detailed close readings, and examines all aspects of the interactions between men and women in the Homeric poems. Her illuminating analysis, first published in French in 1984, remains bold, fresh, and compelling for anyone touched—like Achilles—by a world of grief.


  • Hélène Monsacré is Director of Sciences humaines for Éditions Albin Michel, Paris.

Book Details

  • 198 pages
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • Center for Hellenic Studies
  • Introduction by Richard P. Martin