Robert Fagles vs Caroline Alexander Iliad Translation Comparison

Years: 1990 and 2016

Fagles' translation of the Iliad captures the epic's power and intensity with its vivid language and poetic style, while Alexander's translation aims for a more literal rendering that stays faithful to the original Greek text.

Passage comparison

Robert Fagles

Rage—Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus' son Achilles,
murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses,
hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls,
great fighters' souls, but made their bodies carrion,
feasts for the dogs and birds,
and the will of Zeus was moving toward its end.

Caroline Alexander

Wrath—sing, goddess, of the ruinous wrath of Peleus' son Achilles,
that inflicted woes without number upon the Achaeans,
hurled forth to Hades many strong souls of warriors
and rendered their bodies prey for the dogs,
for all birds, and the will of Zeus was accomplished;
sing from when they two first stood in conflict—
Atreus' son, lord of men, and godlike Achilles.


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