The Ordinary Carter Essay

1228 Words Mar 21st, 2015 5 Pages
Sujaan Lal
Greek Classics Paper
Brian Doherty
Beneath the Surface: The Significance of Somax, the Ordinary Carter There has always a bond between a father and his son that is somewhat unexplainable. The strong generational connection between the two paves the way for both deep intimacy and love but also an overwhelming sense of grief their loss. David Malouf’s Ransom appropriates a section of Homer’s tale for closer examination in which he gives voice to Somax, a character of his own invention. Although he is introduced as an ordinary carter, Somax and his journey become intrinsic to Priam’s own self-discovery. The story of the carter helps his King experience a range of emotions he has never explored and introduces Priam to
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Somax on the other hand, manages to accept the passing of his children and even forgives his mule Beauty, the reason for one of his son’s death. As the journey continues Priam begins to envy the intimacy that his driver had with his progeny. He begins to question if the loss of Hector was the same as the loss that Somax experienced. He wonders if the purpose of retrieving his son’s body is only to fulfill the centuries old practice of burying and honoring the dead. This sensitivity becomes the basis for his decision to appear as a “plain man, white haired and old” and beg for mercy from his son’s killer. The shift away from his customary role as an austere royal a more simple existence allows Priam to realize what is truly important. In this way Somax plays the role of releasing emotions and feelings his King had never been allowed to acknowledge. The introduction of the carter also represents a disagreement Malouf has with the Homeric way of dealing with grief. The aforementioned mule, Beauty, was responsible for the death of one of Somax’s son’s when she “lost her footing” and “knocked him sideways”. However, as opposed to Achilles who makes no effort to control his anger, Somax did the complete opposite and comforted his partner. They became fond of each other and formed an unbreakable bond in which Beauty became something he could lean on as opposed to the root of this trauma. Malouf suggests that

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