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Abstract–Seeing Hera in the Iliad

Hera is the most under-appreciated deity in the pantheon of Homer’s Iliad. Inseminating mortals with thoughts and understanding the secret plans of Zeus, Hera proves to be a goddess of the mind. Hera’s characteristic sphere of action is the phrénes, the realm of physiological, emotional, and intellectual activity. Hera’s own creative vision enlarges the imaginative scope of the epic – for her noetic mode of seeing brings unity to what is otherwise disparate and heterogeneous, including the community of gods themselves. In effect, Homer’s Hera solves the political riddle of Hesiod’s Theogony and thus stabilizes the Olympian regime.

About Seemee Ali

Seemee Ali (PhD University of Dallas) teaches at Carthage College, where she holds a joint appointment in the interdisciplinary Great Ideas Program and the English Department. Her most recent essay, “Wallace Stevens’ Scrawny Cry,” appears in The Lyric Prospect(Dallas Institute Press, 2012). She is now working on a book about immortality and finitude in the Iliad, tentatively entitled The Reconciliation of Hera and Thetis.

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