Italians have been deconstructing and reconstructing Homer and Vergil for a Long Time. If you come upon a heroic epic that doesn’t feature those two, you aren’t reading something Italian. And one of the all-time great contrasts in the Homeric cycle is between Hector and Achilles.
Achilles is mad, bru. It’s the first word of the poem! He’s mad fast, and mad strong, and in the post-Homeric tradition he’s mad invincible. What’s he mad about? Well, his king took his girl from him and his best friend gets murdered in a scene involving his gear.
If I told you that Ariosto was Italian, would it surprise you to learn that his titular hero is also raging mad? He’s invincible (by God’s grace, not the river Styx). His king took his girl from him and his best friend gets murdered in a scene involving his gear… Continue reading Hector and Achilles in Orlando Furioso