…He stood in terror,
shivering, through his mouth there was a gnashing of teeth,
beneath pale-green fear. And these two, breathing hard, approached him,
and fastened his hands…
…ὃ δ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἔστη τάρβησέν τε
βαμβαίνων: ἄραβος δὲ διὰ στόμα γίγνετ᾽ ὀδόντων:
χλωρὸς ὑπαὶ δείους: τὼ δ᾽ ἀσθμαίνοντε κιχήτην,
χειρῶν δ᾽ ἁψάσθην…
This is a portrait of Dolon, the spy whom Hector sent out to find out about the Achaeans’ next move. However, Dolon was captured by Odysseus and Diomedes who ironically, weed out information from him, fearing for his life, concerning the Trojans’ positions and their allies.
Odysseus and Diomedes then slay Dolon, still speaking as his head falls to the ground (Iliad, lines 454-9).
Initially, I wanted to just do a photo of eyes, but then I thought that including more face would give him more credit. The main thing I wanted to convey was curiosity and fear and I think I achieved that.
His death is problematic for me. What is its role in the epic? Was it supposed to evoke emotion in the audience, or was it simply a matter of protocol to kill a spy?
I’ve always had a soft spot for these kinds of characters, like Piggy from Lord of the Flies, or the first people to die in a slasher movie. Reading it from a modern perspective, Dolon embodies that kind of meek, yet brave character that still ends up dying a cruel death.