The novel Tides of War highlights the events of the decades following the Peloponnesian War. In the novel, Jason, who is a member of the landowning class, recaps the events of the war and their effect on his grandson. The historical aspects of the novel indicate that Polemydes, who was a mercenary, had come into contact with significant individuals such as Socrates, Pericles, and Nicias, who were statesmen, and Lysander, a Spartan general. The story also highlights the figure of Alcibiades, who played a vital role in the Peloponnesian War. He was a charismatic figure and stayed undefeated in his career as a general. In the novel, Pressfield utilizes significant techniques to transform the lives of Greeks during the Peloponnesian War into elements of a modern novel. For instance, Pressfield utilizes the technique of recounting past happenings using native vocabulary that is boosted by a high level of fiction to transform the lives of Greeks into a modern novel. Additionally, he utilizes the technique of telling the story using an ordinary soldier’s point of view instead of using the common traditional “hero perspective” approach. The technique of using a common soldier instead of the common “hero perspective” was less successful. Thus, this essay explicates the techniques which are utilized by Pressfield in transforming the lives of Greeks during the Peloponnesian war into elements of a modern novel. Additionally, the essay highlights the less successful technique.
The first technique that Pressfield utilizes is that of recounting the past happenings using native vocabulary boosted by a high level of fiction. It is significant to note that Pressfield utilizes the recounting technique that is supported by native vocabularies and fiction to highlight the mindsets of the past legendary individuals, hence, achieving a high level of modernity. The use of significant statements such “as far as sight could carry” indicates Pressfield’s commitment to the use of native vocabulary that reflects the lives of the Greek (Pressfield 56). The use of these relevant words exemplifies the nature of the world in which Greeks lived and interacted with each other. They are able to connect easily with the techniques that are utilized by Pressfield, hence, indicating a high level of the modern nature of Greek lifestyles. Again, Pressfield recounts past events in the novel using knowledgeable fiction. The fiction is indicated in the wars that took place and the ultimate murder of Alcibiades. The employment of fiction in the story makes it more interesting and captivating. As an example the assertion “Storms of stones screamed… and the air was solid with steel and flame” could be used (Pressfield 72). This assertion indicates the intensity of the battles and the events that were taking place at that time. Additionally, the fiction which represented in this assertion helps individuals link these activities in a more modern nature.
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The second and significant technique that is employed by Pressfield is the use of a “common soldier” instead of using the common “hero perspective”, which is frequently in other novels, to present the story. In the narration of the story, Pressfield uses Jason, an aging noble, and Polymides, a mercenary, to recount the events that had taken place during the Peloponnesian War. The use of this technique eliminates the traditionalism associated with introducing the hero directly into the story. With the use of these two narrators, Pressfield presents Alcibiades, the protagonist, gradually instead of introducing him at the first instance. Notably, Jason’s and Polymides’ recounts introduce Alcibiades’ as a brilliant soldier who was charismatic and who never lost wars. The assertion, “the beauty of his personality attracted many people to him” indicates the charismatic nature of Alcibiades (Pressfield 220). This technique exhibits the characteristics of the “hero” in the novel in a modern manner, hence, exemplifying the way in which Pressfield transformed the lives of Greeks into the modern novel. In line with this technique, readers are able to observe that Polymides played a role in the death of Alcibiades and that he is imprisoned for murder. More so, the utilization of this style helps in the gradual development of the plot of the story, highlighting the events that took place in the Peloponnesian War. With this technique, the lives of Greeks are transformed into the modern novel, which differs from the traditional systems of identifying the main character in the story. People are able to see the protagonist later in the novel, hence, reflecting the modern nature in which the Greek lives have been transformed by the other.
In my opinion, the use of a “common soldier” technique instead of using the “hero perspective” one was less successful technique, since the story could have reflected the modernity of novel writing in cases where the key character was introduced from the very start of the story. The protagonist and the modernity of the Greek lives could have been understood better in case Pressfield utilized the “hero perspective” technique. It is vital for readers to understand the protagonist from the start in order to understand his personal characteristics and mode of operation. Issues leading to his death could have also been understood better in case if the protagonist was introduced at the beginning. Therefore, this technique was less successful because its omission could not have changed anything. People could have still understood the novel in its modern nature.
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In conclusion, Pressfield employs vital techniques to transform the lives of the Greek into the modern novel. One of these techniques is the use of native vocabulary and knowledgeable fiction to recount the past happenings that took place during the Peloponnesian War. The utilization of the vocabularies and fiction exhibits the transformation of the Greek lives, as a high level of modernity is reflected in this approach. Additionally, Pressfield uses the technique of allowing a “common soldier” narration into the story, instead of using the “hero perspective” technique. It is through the narrations of Jason and Polymides that individuals learn and understand the Alcibiades, the protagonist. This is a transformation of the lives of Greeks into the modern novel. The technique does not work similar to other techniques that entail the use of the key character from the beginning to the end of the novel. However, the second style of utilizing a common soldier is less successful, since the transformation of the Greek lives into modernity could have been more effective in case if the technique was omitted. Sensible conclusions relating to the modernization of Greek lives could have still been made without the incorporation of the technique.
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