What Greek epics taught me about the special relationship between fathers and sons

Fathers occupy an outsized place in Greek myth. They are kings and models, and too often challenges to be overcome. In Greek epic, fathers are markers of absence and dislocation. When Achilles learns his lover and friend, Patroklos, has died in “The Iliad,” he weeps and says that he always imagined his best friend returning home and introducing Achilles’ son, Neoptolemus, to Achilles’s father, Peleus.

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