The Linnet's Wings The Sorrow - Page 46

The Linnet´s Wings Thereafter beginning from the left he poured drinks for the other Gods, dipping up from the mixing bowl the sweet nectar. But among the blessed immortals uncontrollable laughter went up as they saw Hephaistos bustling about the palace. (Bk I, 595-600) (Trans Fitzgerald) His service to them, as well as his broken gait, makes him an object of ridicule. Homer underscores how unjust this is when he tells us that these cruel aristocrats in their exquisite leisure retire to palaces Hephaistos built for them: Afterwards, when the light of the flaming sun went under they went away each one to sleep in his home where for each one the far–renowned strong-handed Hephaistos had built a house by means of his craftsmanship and cunning. (Bk I, 605-608) [pic] In this image from a Greek vase, the river goddess Thetis appeals to Hephaistos to create the magical shield for her son, Achilles. The shield as described in Book XVIII ofthe “Iliad”, a work ofbronze and gold, reflects the art ofthe poet in bringing human figures to life through words alone. We may wonder how Hephaistos could serve as a divinity that excites one’s soul to emulation and provides strength to guide one’s life and actions. He is unpleasant in appearance and has been reduced to humble servitude. And yet, Hephaistos is a divinity, and has won the devotion of Homer himself. Hephaistos, the god of craftsmanship, is Homer’s god. We think of poets benefitting from their muses, those wispy beings that inspire them. However, Homer knows that poets execute a craft as demanding as silversmiths and sculptors and metal-workers at their forge. Like Hephaistos, Homer possesses the extraordinary powers to lend the appearance of life to mere objects with his magical craft. Homer introduces Hephaistos at the end of Book One of The Iliad, a position of special 46