Robert Fagles vs Robert Graves Iliad Translation Comparison

Years: 1990 and 1959

Fagles' translation of the Iliad captures the epic grandeur and emotional depth of Homer's original work while providing a smooth and accessible language, whereas Graves' translation offers a more poetic and lyrical rendition that emphasizes the archaic nature of the 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.

Robert Graves

Sing, Mountain Goddess, sing through me
That anger which most ruinously
Inflamed Achilles, Peleus' son,
And which, before the tale was done,
Had glutted Hell with champions—bold,
Stern spirits by the thousandfold;
Ravens and dogs their corpses ate
For thus did Zeus, who watched their fate,
See his resolve, first taken when
Proud Agamemnon, King of men,
An insult on Achilles cast,
Achieve accomplishment at last.


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