First degree murder is the most serious form of homicide. It is where the murderer has taken the victims life intentionally and had been outlining the death for a period of time, but who could possibly be this insane to take a life? Who could be okay with feeling the burden of their actions? Well, many people in this world are, they are mentally ill and take practice in taking one’s life. These people, who are quite experienced, have learned how to disguise their murders and make them seem as if something else has happened to the victim in order to not be caught.
Within the novel The Athenian Murders written by Jose Carlos Somoza , a young man is murdered and two characters Heracles Pontor and Diagoras set out to find the murderer. This novel is written in two perspectives which include the narrator which is Montalo and the translator. Throughout the book the translator speaks of the narrator’s writing and digs deeper into his choice of words revealing the literary devices used within the novel.
Even though humans tend to say they only treasure the personality of another, it is human nature to allow first appearances to be deceiving since the way someone’s death may be interpreted may not be the reality of the incident text may have the truth be hidden within it, and different stories reveal buried realities.To begin, the author uses many concepts to reveal that one cannot view a death and know how it actually occurred. The author uses Tramachus’s death to introduce this idea and uses the characters Heracles Pontor and Diagoras to find the truth behind what has been shown. The doctor determines the youths form of death by judging the visual aspects which means the death may be wrongly evaluated. The death of Tramachus, the youth that was found dead is said to be that he was “‘attacked by a hungry pack of wolves. He’s been bitten and mauled.
..The heart is missing. Torn out'” (Somoza 3).
When the doctor says this, it is not questioned, when really the doctor is only ruling this by how the body has been found. This character is not considering that murderers could place a body like this. The author uses this direct statement to reveal how humans can come to conclusions so easily and not dig for the truth even when it means not properly justifying the death of an individual. Furthermore, throughout the novel some characters do wish to know the truth such as Diagoras; the professor, the author uses this character as the link to reveal the truth behind his students death.
When Diagoras first reaches Hercules about his thoughts on the death and the suspicions he has, he speaks of Tramachus and says, “‘He was terrified'” (Somoza 26) which is how he viewed his own student, yet again another appearance that could be misleading so later on in the novel they speak about this terror again and Diagoras says; “‘I know what I saw. Tramachus was terrified.’ ‘You know what you thought you saw,’ pointed out Heracles” (Somoza 30). When the character Heracles points this out the author is directly stating that the only truth known is the one that Diagoras sees. This points out the appearance of something versus the reality of how it may be. By adding the word “thought” in Heracles response it emphasizes on the unknowns of that day since it is all based on speculations and assumptions.
The death of this individual reveals the uncertainties in the visual aspects of things, but there are other forms of covering the truth that the author uses within his writing.Likewise, as the translator dissects the text he is able to reveal many of the eidesis used within the text which also shows the reader that the author is trying to give them a false reality. The translator is trying to unfold everything that is happening within the novel and first reveals the the 12 Labours of Hercules are hidden messages in the text, the translator exposes the first labour when he speaks to Helena and she says, “‘It could be referring to a lion, couldn’t it?”‘ (Somoza 14). While reading the text a deeper meaning may not be clear so a reader could perhaps not look for this indication and would just take the language directly as it is stated.
Being revealed to the idea that they have been reading something that has a deeper meaning demonstrates that the first appearance the reader was displayed was in fact misleading. This gives them a further understanding of the novel since it was not meant as the actual words “manes and maws”, but to introduce the twelve labours. Additionally, into the novel the author is able to reveal the twelve labors of Hercules within the twelve chapters through the translator, when the translator finds this he becomes more obsessed with the text itself and revealing the imagery.
As the translator speaks to his colleagues he says; “‘The Athenian Murders has twelve chapters and, according to a legend, Hercules performed, in all, twelve labours”‘ (Somoza 34). This reveals that within the text the author has created another story due to its double meaning and hidden images that the translator is revealing. The irony of twelve labours and twelve chapters shows that this connection could be true. The author uses the hidden messages to uncover the truth behind the novel and develop the character of the translator such that he makes the translator into a character. Not to mention, the story of the translator changes throughout the novel. The first glimpse of him shows that he is a regular man that has decided to translate an interesting novel, but as the novel progresses it is revealed that the translator has fallen too deep within the novel and now feels as if he may be part of a greater story. The appearance of this small character changes to expose the true man behind the writing. The introduction of the translator is quite simple and states how he is ” beginning his my translation of The Athenian Murders with the first sentence of Montalo’s text, which is the only version we have.
” (Somoza 1) when he is directly stating what he is doing the author is assuring the reader that this character is very small within the text, but could become much greater, giving the reader a first glance of this characters job. The translator falls deep into the text and begins to create his own characters that are not part of the text, but he believes to be important since Helena asks him, “‘You’ve fallen in love with the girl with the Lily, haven’t you?'”(Somoza 56). Within this the translator is beginning to show affection towards a symbol that he has followed throughout his translation showing that he is caught up with the text and the text is beginning to affect his life. As he speaks to someone in the real world he keeps mentioning this girl and says, “‘There’s a girl in the text calling for help,’ I told him. ‘And you’re going to save her?'”(Somoza 76). When the translator mentions the girl again he is clearly lost within the novel and believes he can save this girl although it is a fictional character. The response is directly implementing that those around him see him as erratic.
The novels imagery is capable of changing the perspective of a human and shows the reader the misleading story of the young girl in need for help. Finally, as the two stories develop the truth is revealed and through the translators writings, the murder of Tramachus, and the translators story Somoza is able to capture the idea of deceiving appearances. The translator reveals that the novel was written with an eidetic secret buried within the text which is the Twelve Labours of Hercules, one labor per chapter since their is twelve chapters, the two main characters fall in deep with discovering who the murderer of the youth is and are exposed to athenian secrets that may change them forever. While the characters are able to prove to everyone that it was indeed a murder these characters are able to show everyone that one can not trust what they see for there is always a truth hidden behind everything that must be revealed with patience and time. As once said by Anaxagoras; “Appearances are a glimpse of the unseen”.Works Cited: Somoza, Jose? Carlos, and Sonia Soto. The Athenian Murders.