Simone Weil's The Iliad, The Poem Of Force

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In her critical essay, ‘The Iliad, or, The Poem of Force,’ Simone Weil submits Homer’s epic poem to her concept of force. Through her analysis of the epic, she demonstrates what it is to pay attention to an object — and by extension, another being. That is to say, the way in which Weil analyses the Iliad demonstrates what it is in her terms to love through attention in the face of force. ‘The Poem of Force,’ then, is not merely a passive analysis, nor is it a simple illustration of an example. Weil’s essay does indeed lay out a definition of force, and by bringing to light examples in the Iliad where force is demonstrated, she is subjecting the poem to force as she analyses both it and defines force itself. However, as she delves deeper into the epic, Weil’s focus shifts subtly. While she gradually adds nuance to her critique of Homer 's magnum opus, she applies to the work her definition of attention as she lays out in her essay, ‘Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God.’ This subjection of the poem to force, which Weil attenuates into attention,…show more content…
It is “the idea of destiny before which executioner and victim stand equally innocent” (95). Force is the "necessity of war" and its destruction that will ultimately pave the way for "the necessity of peace" (96). Without force 's destruction, as painful as it is, there is no room for peace 's creation. In Weil 's view, these creative and destructive powers, respectively, are equally products of necessity. Neither are the product of human activity, but instead, they are the result of influences beyond our control, a kind of destiny that we have no hand in deciding. As a result, the executioner is force’s lifeless tool, and the victim its the unfortunate object of its devastation. Neither has a choice whether they kill or are killed in the face of its awesome
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