ホメーロスと『平家物語』における生死の選択―英雄美女が死を選ぶ時 [Choices of Life and Death in Homer and the Tale of the Heike: When Heroes and Heroines commit suicide]

Yamagata, Naoko (2017). ホメーロスと『平家物語』における生死の選択―英雄美女が死を選ぶ時 [Choices of Life and Death in Homer and the Tale of the Heike: When Heroes and Heroines commit suicide]. Journal of Classical Studies, 65 pp. 1–11.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.20578/jclst.65.0_1

Abstract

Comparison of suicides and suicidal wishes in Homer and the Tale of the Heike reveals significant differences between the two warrior worlds, despite their similar value systems for which they have both been labelled as ‘shame culture’. In both worlds, shame, loyalty and grief are the main causes of suicidal wishes, but Heike characters are more prone to suicide (21 cases) whilst Homeric characters never actually commit suicide, despite the fact that there are as many cases of expression of suicidal wishes (21 cases) as actual cases of suicide in the Tale of the Heike. Heike suicides can be seen to be the extension of social cohesion, the desire to be with one’s community and loved ones. This is enhanced by the Buddhist belief in an afterlife where one can be reborn with one’s loved ones. Homeric characters on the other hand display much stronger attachment to life, based on the belief that there is no existence or fame after death worth dying for, culminating in Achilles’ wish to be alive even without glory and in Odysseus’ struggle to survive and get back home against all odds.

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