spiphany wrote:Do you still have a question or did you resolve your difficulties?
I went and hunted down my notes/commentaries on the text (I've read it twice now, you'd think I'd remember more)
Regarding ἀχάριστος, Mastronarde's commentary (Cambridge UP 2002) has: "Understand ὤν with ἀχάριστος, just as is done with κακός in phrases like 1386 κατθανῇ κακὸς κακῶς ... This adj. is predominantly active in sense in classical authors and is unlikely to mean here 'unloved.' "
πάρεστιν is frequently used this way with a dative where we would use a personal verb in English. Page's commentary has the note: "πάρεστί μοι normally = I have the opportunity, or the power: but πάρεστί sometimes denotes the possession of a habit or characteristic."
I'd actually just translate πάρεστιν with a dative as "can" with a personal subject in English. Expressing modal constructions impersonally this way is really not at all unusual -- you see it a lot in other Indo-European languages as well, not just Greek, so I wouldn't really consider it a special metaphor unless you mean the whole group of related dative usages (possession, ethical, etc). We can do it in English, too ("it is possible for him" vs. "he can"), it's just not the preferred structure.
I think it has to do with argument structure ("arguments" being here not rhetorical strategies but bits of a sentence which are ordered by the verb -- i.e., subjects, direct objects etc). When we think about participants in a sentence we can talk about their roles a couple of ways. First they have a syntactic function (grammatical subject or object). But they also have a semantic function ("thematic role"): agent, experiencer, recipient, instrument, etc. There are various theories about how thematic roles "map" into syntactic functions, but basically different languages do this different ways. I think English has a strong preference for filling the subject position of a sentence with an "agent" or "experiencer"-type noun. "The dog bit the cat." "I like pie." In Classical Greek (and other languages) this preference isn't nearly so pronounced. You're more likely to get sentences like "Pie is pleasing to me."
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