Ransom

by

David Malouf

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Hermes Character Analysis

Initially appearing in Ransom as a young and rather vain Greek soldier, Hermes is in fact the Greek messenger god. He is also the god of travelers, and the escort of souls to the afterlife, so it is symbolically fitting that he acts as a guide and protector to Priam and Somax as they make their way to Achilles’s hut. The men encounter him shortly before crossing the River Scamander, and he introduces himself as an escort sent by Achilles to protect them. Although both Priam and Somax are initially mistrustful, they have no choice but to accept his presence, and after helping them ford the river, Hermes reveals his true identity. Priam takes heart from the knowledge that the gods approve of his plan, and Hermes accompanies them for the rest of their journey.
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Hermes Character Timeline in Ransom

The timeline below shows where the character Hermes appears in Ransom. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 3
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
The Epic and the Everyday Theme Icon
...have already stolen their treasure if he wanted to. Claiming to be a Greek named Orchilus, the stranger says that Achilles has sent him to act as an escort. Priam is... (full context)
The Epic and the Everyday Theme Icon
Somax attempts to get rid of Orchilus, who has made himself at home leaning against the cart. Priam also finds Orchilus's careless... (full context)
Language, Storytelling, and Empathy Theme Icon
The Epic and the Everyday Theme Icon
...pitching both the treasure and her riders into the water. She steadies herself, however, and Orchilus, who has been walking alongside the cart, points out a safer place to cross. The... (full context)
Language, Storytelling, and Empathy Theme Icon
The Epic and the Everyday Theme Icon
Orchilus asks about Somax’s daughter-in-law, which irritates and confuses the carter, since he has not mentioned... (full context)
Fate, Chance, and Change Theme Icon
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Empathy Theme Icon
Priam realizes that their escort is in fact the god Hermes, and Somax becomes alarmed. Since one of Hermes’s roles is escorting the dead to the... (full context)
Fate, Chance, and Change Theme Icon
The Epic and the Everyday Theme Icon
...are on guard duty hear someone knocking, and then watch as the gate swings open. Hermes, who has made himself invisible, has lifted the bar. The cart passes into the camp... (full context)
Part 4
Fate, Chance, and Change Theme Icon
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
...guide, and is reassured by the fact that Achilles seems to recognize the significance of Hermes’s role in bringing the king here. Priam says that his herald (i.e. Somax) is outside... (full context)
Part 5
Language, Storytelling, and Empathy Theme Icon
The Epic and the Everyday Theme Icon
...him changes, Somax keeps entertaining his listeners with his stories, describing how he once met Hermes, convinced Priam to dip his feet in the River Scamander, and ate a meal given... (full context)