Ransom

by

David Malouf

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Neoptolemus Character Analysis

Neoptolemus is Achilles’s son, whom he has not seen in nine years by the time Ransom begins. Although Achilles himself will die before he has the chance to see his son again, he has a vision of Neoptolemus in the future: he sees his son, now a teenager, killing Priam during the final sack of Troy to avenge Achilles’s death. Malouf expands on this in the final pages of the novel, depicting the killing as an unsatisfying attempt on Neoptolemus’s part to live up to his father’s legacy, and an act that will haunt Neoptolemus with shame for the rest of his life.

Neoptolemus Quotes in Ransom

The Ransom quotes below are all either spoken by Neoptolemus or refer to Neoptolemus. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fate, Chance, and Change Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Ransom published in 2009.
Part 5 Quotes

And for him the misery of this moment will last forever; that is the hard fact he must live with. However the story is told and elaborated, the raw shame of it will be with him now till his last breath.

Related Characters: Priam, Neoptolemus
Page Number: 214
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Ransom LitChart as a printable PDF.
Ransom PDF

Neoptolemus Character Timeline in Ransom

The timeline below shows where the character Neoptolemus appears in Ransom. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
The Epic and the Everyday Theme Icon
...of life, like the change of the seasons—or, more personally, the growth of his son Neoptolemus, whom he has not seen since leaving for war.  (full context)
Part 4
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
Priam begins his appeal, asking Achilles how he would feel if his own son Neoptolemus were in Hector’s place. As Priam continues, he says he never imagined he would be... (full context)
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
The Epic and the Everyday Theme Icon
...his son must look like now at age sixteen. Ultimately, however, he can only picture Neoptolemus play-fighting as a young boy. (full context)
Fate, Chance, and Change Theme Icon
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
...from it. He then again questions whether Achilles wouldn’t do what he is doing for Neoptolemus, or whether Peleus wouldn’t do the same for Achilles. (full context)
Fate, Chance, and Change Theme Icon
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Empathy Theme Icon
...look at Priam again, he has a vision of the future: he sees his son Neoptolemus killing Priam in retribution for Achilles’s own death. Priam sees that Achilles is stunned and... (full context)
Part 5
Fate, Chance, and Change Theme Icon
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
...“suspended.” The narrator, however, reminds his readers that this is not the case, explaining that Neoptolemus is already on his way to Troy, eager to claim his part in the story... (full context)
Fate, Chance, and Change Theme Icon
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Empathy Theme Icon
The Epic and the Everyday Theme Icon
The narrator skips forward, explaining that Priam’s actual death will be nothing like what Neoptolemus had imagined. Instead of mildly accepting his death, Priam watches in terror as Neoptolemus runs... (full context)