Posted Friday night, April 27, 2018.
The Trojan War is not and you cannot make it be the War of Good vs. Evil. It’s just a war, a wasteful, useless, needless, stupid, protracted cruel mess full of individual acts of courage, cowardice, nobility, betrayal, limb-hacking-off, and disembowelment. Homer was a Greek and might have been partial to the Greek side, but he had a sense of justice or balance that seems characteristically Greek---maybe his people learned a good deal of it from him? His impartiality is far from dispassionate; the story is unprejudiced. It isn’t Satan vs. Angels. It isn’t Holy Warriors vs. Infidels. It isn’t hobbits vs. orcs. It’s just people vs. people.
Of course you can take sides, almost everybody does. I try not to, but it’s no use. I just like the Trojans better than the Greeks. But Homer truly doesn’t take side, and so he permits the story to be tragic. By tragedy, mind and soul are grieved, enlarged and exalted.
---Ursula Le Guin, from “No Time to Spare”.