This book is a study of the patterns of meaning by which T.S. Eliot attempted to create culturally significant characters (Greek heroes and modern «saints») who find some transcendent meaning that liberates the isolated self and refuses to accept chaos as the answer to the modernists' loss of faith. Eliot's poetry is deeply influenced by the Greek concept of
arete - those human «excellences» of character and body (physical courage, endurance, and energy) related to the aristocratic
agathoi of ancient Greece, especially in the Herakles myth - that continues to be a powerful influence on postmodern culture.