Priam Quotes in Ransom
He is obliged, in his role as king, to think of the king's sacred body, this brief six feet of earth he moves and breathes in—aches and sneezes and all—as at once a body like any other and an abstract of the lands he represents, their living map.
This time, when I look behind me, what is glowing out from under the coverlet…is the body of my son Hector, all his limbs newly restored and shining, restored and ransomed.
And perhaps, because it is unexpected, it may appeal to him to: the chance to break free of the obligation of being always the hero, as I am expected always to be the king. To take on the lighter bond of being simply a man. Perhaps that is the real gift I have to bring him. Perhaps that is the ransom.
It seems to me…that there might be another way of naming what we call fortune and attribute to the will, or the whim, of the gods. Which offers a kind of opening. The opportunity to act for ourselves. To try something that might force events into a different course.
And I am back there in the very midst of it, looking down that white-dust road into another life. And it means nothing, that other story. In this one the miraculous turnabout has never happened. I am just one more slave-thing like the rest, one among many.
In the end, what we come to is what time, with every heartbeat and in every moment of our lives, has been slowly working towards: the death we have been carrying in us from the very beginning, from our first breath.
The realm of the royal was representational, ideal. Everything that was merely accidental…all this was to be ignored, left to fall away into the confused and confusing realm of the incidental and the ordinary.
His whole life was like that, or had been. But out here, he discovered, everything was just itself. That was what seemed new.
It was as if you had found yourself peering through the crack in a door (exciting, Priam found, this imagining himself into a situation he would never have dreamed of acting out) and saw clearly for a moment into the fellow's life, his world.
Royal custom—the habit of averting his gaze, always, from the unnecessary and particular—had saved him from all that. And yet it was just such unnecessary things in the old man's talk, occasions in which pain and pleasure were inextricably mixed, that so engaged and moved him.
[Death] is the hard bargain life makes with us—with all of us, every one—and the condition we share. And for that reason, if for no other, we should have pity for one another's losses.
Look, he wants to shout, I am still here, but the I is different. I come as a man of sorrow bringing the body of my son for burial, but I come also as the hero of the deed that till now was never attempted.
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.