in Fixed Period

Chapter 12 – Our Voyage to England

godlike heroism

President Neverbend, reflecting on whether or not he would have truly been able to make the arrangements to kill Crasweller, decides that he would ultimately have been unable.  He states that it would have required “godlike heroism” to do so.  This is clearly invoking the notion of the Greek hero, who was often divine, semi-divine, or possessed of super-human strength.  By having Neverbend state that such heroism is required–a heroism only possessed by figures of myth–Trollope is implying that no man could carry out such an act, no matter how rational its basis.  [CMC 2012]



Neverbend describes the prejudices against the Fixed Period as hydra-headed.  This is a reference to the hydra of Greek mythology.  Every time one of its heads is severed, two more grow in its place.  Neverbend is thus essentially saying that no matter how many arguments against the Fixed Period are defeated, even more will come up to take their place.  Further, only the mythical demigod Hercules was finally able to defeat the hydra, and Neverbend has previously stated that he does not possess “godlike heroism.”  [CMC 2012]



Neverbend is once again likened to Socrates, only this time not by himself.  When Neverbend says that facing public opinion in England will be hard to bear, Crosstrees reminds him that all visionaries bear hardships.  This last reference to Socrates is in some ways more honest than the previous ones, as they all came from Neverbend himself and not an outside commentator.  [CMC 2012]