Fate, Hubris, and Hamartia in

Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy
This paper discusses the fate that doomed the character of Oedipus, the prophecies of Cassandra that were
ignored and resulted in the tragic ends of Paris’ loved ones, and if the destiny of Paris could have been altered
if Cassandra’s prophecies were heeded (by Jaime Cabrera, 31 Oct 2015).

ABSTRACT
Greek tragedy follows specific storytelling conventions to satisfy the audiences during
the time of Homer and Sophocles. These conventions include elements such as the willing
suspension of disbelief, the heroic proportions of the attributes of tragic protagonists, fate,
hubris, hamartia, and catharsis. This paper answers three assignment questions. (1) What fate
doomed the character of Oedipus? (2) What prophecies of Cassandra were ignored, resulting
in tragic ends of those close to Paris? (3) If Cassandra‟s prophecies were heeded, could Paris‟
destiny have been avoided? Why or why not? In Sophocles‟ Oedipus Rex, the character of
Oedipus was fated to commit patricide and maternal incest. In Homer‟s The Iliad,
Cassandra‟s prophecies that were ignored and which resulted in the tragic end of the royal
House of Troy are: (1) that Paris‟s trip to Sparta would result in disaster; (2) that Helen‟s stay
in Troy will bring tragedy to the Trojans; and (3) that bringing the Trojan horse into the city
walls will cause the ruin of the city of Troy. If Cassandra‟s prophecies were heeded, Paris‟s
destiny would not be avoided because catharsis is required in Greek tragedy; the protagonist
must not triumph over adversity. This paper is organized in three chapters. The Introduction
defines key elements of tragic literary structure: protagonist, catharsis, hubris, hamartia, and
fate. The second chapter, Oedipus Rex, discusses those key elements in Sophocles‟ Oedipus
Rex. The last chapter, Helen of Troy, discusses those key elements in Homer‟s The Iliad. This
paper ends with a References and an Appendices section.

Suggested citation (APA format):
Cabrera, Jaime A. 2015. Fate, Hubris, and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy.
Electronic document accessed from scribd.com at (add link).

Contents
1.

2

INTRODUCTION .............................................................................................................................................. 2
1.1

Suspension of Disbelief ......................................................................................................................... 2

1.2

Dramatic Structure ................................................................................................................................ 3

1.3

Fate ....................................................................................................................................................... 4

1.4

Hubris .................................................................................................................................................... 4

1.5

Hamartia................................................................................................................................................ 5

OEDIPUS REX................................................................................................................................................... 7
2.1

Background ........................................................................................................................................... 7

2.2

Plot Summary ........................................................................................................................................ 7

2.3

The Prophecies of the Oracle ................................................................................................................ 8

2.4

The Character of Oedipus ..................................................................................................................... 8

2.5

The Actions of Oedipus ......................................................................................................................... 8

2.5.1

He decides to know the truth regarding his parentage. ................................................................... 9

2.5.2

He abandons the parents he knew by protecting them. .................................................................. 9

2.5.3

He kills a stranger when he felt insulted. ........................................................................................ 10

2.5.4

He decides to solve the riddle of the Sphinx. ................................................................................. 10

2.5.5

He decides to marry the widowed Queen of Thebes. .................................................................... 10

2.5.6

He decides to solve the pestilence that ravaged Thebes. .............................................................. 10

2.5.7

He issues a decree to automatically punish King Laius’ killer. ........................................................ 11

2.5.8

He decides to conduct the inquiry in a public forum. ..................................................................... 11

2.5.9

He gouges out his own eyes. .......................................................................................................... 12

2.5.10
2.6
3

He chooses exile over death.. ..................................................................................................... 12

Recapitulation ..................................................................................................................................... 12

HELEN OF TROY............................................................................................................................................. 14
3.1

Background ......................................................................................................................................... 16

3.2

Backstory ............................................................................................................................................. 16

3.3

Plot Summary ...................................................................................................................................... 17

3.4

The Prophecies of Cassandra .............................................................................................................. 17

3.4.1

The Coming of the War ................................................................................................................... 17

3.4.2

The Destruction of Troy .................................................................................................................. 17

3.4.3

Abduction of a Seer ........................................................................................................................ 18

3.4.4

The Devastation of Troy .................................................................................................................. 18

3.4.5

Death of the King and his Men ....................................................................................................... 18

3.4.6

Slavery of the Queen ...................................................................................................................... 18

3.4.7

Cassandra’s Murder, and Beyond ................................................................................................... 19

3.5

Recapitulation ..................................................................................................................................... 19

REFERENCES.......................................................................................................................................................... 20
APPENDICES .......................................................................................................................................................... 22

Fates, Hubris, and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera

1

List of Tables
Table 1: Hamartia and Hubris in Sophocles‟ Oedipus Rex........................................................ 9
Table 2: Some Prophecies by Princess Cassandra ................................................................... 14
Table 3: Hamartia and Hubris in Homer‟s The Iliad ............................................................... 15
Table 4: Outline of Sophocles‟ Oedipus Rex ........................................................................... 22
Table 5: Summary of Homer‟s Iliad ........................................................................................ 29

List of Figures
Figure 1: Oedipus in Exile ....................................................................................................... 23
Figure 2: The Messenger with the infant Oedipus ................................................................... 23
Figure 3: The Plague of Thebes ............................................................................................... 23
Figure 4: Oedipus and the Sphinx ............................................................................................ 23
Figure 5: The Nine Layers of Troy .......................................................................................... 24
Figure 6: The Wooden Horse enters Troy ............................................................................... 24
Figure 7: Excavation Map of Troy........................................................................................... 25
Figure 8: Aerial View of the City of Troy ............................................................................... 25
Figure 9: Possible Route of Greek Expedition to Troy............................................................ 26
Figure 10: Greek Amphitheater ............................................................................................... 26
Figure 11: Map location of Thebes and Corinth ...................................................................... 27
Figure 12: Thebes, now Luxor, Egypt ..................................................................................... 27
Figure 13: Oedipus & Antigone ............................................................................................... 28
Figure 14: Oedipus at Colonus ................................................................................................ 28
Figure 15: The Judgment of Paris ............................................................................................ 28

theatre performances were presented during a specific part of day and time of year when people could set aside their daily chores and businesses. This phenomenon is called “willing suspension of disbelief” or. Then. in plainer words “I believe because I agree to overlook certain factors that would otherwise cause me to not believe” (Martin. or literature. In Ancient Greece. there is the endurance of performers and the strength of their voices in a time when electronics and amplifiers did not exist.Fates. 2012).). their families and calls of nature that must be attended. d.). In addition. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera 2 1. Greek tragedies are constructed according to a specific structure. These dramatic elements should be well-woven into a compact story so as to shorten real-time performance. and fishermen. tragedies stories were written more for competitions and live performance than for self-expression. ibid. Writers craft stories so that. To achieve this. (Martin. particularly a work of drama or fiction in film.1 Suspension of Disbelief Fiction works when audiences or readers are so immersed in the story that they take vicarious pleasure despite – or perhaps because of – knowing that it‟s only a story (Brown. 1. Hubris. n. To shorten staging time. comedy. the term tragedy is defined as a story where the protagonist or hero succumbs to circumstance. The willing suspension of disbelief is a term most often used to describe the mechanisms of assimilation required to appreciate an invented situation. is where the hero overcomes circumstance. audiences achieve a satisfying sense of emotional relief called catharsis. ibid. The yardstick of success for was audience satisfaction. There is the endurance of audiences in hot weather in open-air amphitheaters to consider (See Figure 10). INTRODUCTION In the study of literature. flashbacks were utilized in clear.) Effective fiction is a fragile construct: “The balance of "believability" is extremely fragile and the slightest inconsistency can compromise the credibility of an otherwise acceptable account of fictional events” (Martin. farmers. . The opposite. theater. by the end of a presentation. logical ways that can be easily followed even by unschooled shopkeepers.

Within this premise. d. These backstories of high beginnings create the framework for a series of human-sized hamartia to happen. Finally. “An invented situation is considered to be more believable when the requirements for willing suspense of disbelief are kept to a minimum” (Martin. thus ensuring his besting an old man in combat.2 Dramatic Structure It is moot and academic to discuss ancient literary characters as though they are real persons in our time. In literary analysis of classical literature.. impulsive young man with pride and confidence. A similar development can be found in Oedipus Rex. the heroic protagonist should have human attributes and errors but in more heroic proportions than ordinary people. the discussion should happen within the author‟s contrived plot structure. his besting the Phoenix. n.1 As in the fictional construct of Oedipus Rex. This care and craft are what classic tragedies are made of.Fates. thus ensuring his return to royalty and his assignment to foreign diplomacy. the three dramatic premises of The Iliad is that (a) men and gods are all subject to fate (Smith. . and his excellent kingship of Thebes (See Figure 12). n. [1]. the technical term for the type of story is comedy. the baby Paris survives and returns as a young man of considerable beauty. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera 3 There must be careful logic and weighing of elements so that tragedy does not descend to pathos or – even worse – to bathos (Schaper. (b) that there is individual freedom to act within the framework of what is foretold. they must fall. First. 1. Second. prowess and arrogance. These two criteria satisfy audiences of yore due to catharsis. which is essential to effective tragedies. heroes should have human qualities but more than is usually found in humans. the analysis should include how these aforementioned elements work on the topic of analysis. 1 When characters triumph over circumstances.). his marrying the widowed queen. d. sprinkled with some heroic hubris – too many might invite pathos and non-suspension of disbelief – and make for satisfyingly cathartic audience experience when the long and painful fall comes. Anon. particularly tragedies from ancient western civilizations. In addition. and (c) that hubris and hamartia help what is foretold to come true. Hubris. UNLV. Tragedies have essential criteria. where the baby Oedipus survives into an inquisitive. 1978). ibid). Mighty heroes must be overcome by circumstances. 2012.

n. and on the invulnerability of walls of Troy against the seafaring Greeks‟ weaponry and might. [3].4 Hubris Hubris. Anon. we present the notion of fate according to the cultural context of Greece during the lifetime of Sophocles. who was also a priestess in the Temple of Apollo. needs and desires of others. [4]. 2011. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera 4 1. Then his foster parents and his biological parents would live. 2). Princess Cassandra. However. Prideful people have difficulty in their interpersonal relations since their own hubris is likely to interfere with the wishes.. and Hossain. Without hubris.Fates. his city. he is. King Oedipus and Prince Paris were young men who took for granted their own thinking and problem-solving abilities. fate means “the foretelling of what will happen” (Anon. It is associated with such descriptions as “puffed up. In fact. in which case there is likely to be interpersonal conflict. Without hubris.) . d. It is an essential part of Greek culture and storytelling. (2) it is not related to a specific action and. [2]. “their freedom is tied with destiny” (Anon. p. and (3) it interferes with interpersonal relationships because of its contemptuous and insolent nature.” In extreme cases. 1. is the earmark character trait of King Oedipus of Thebes as well as of Prince Paris of Troy. In those days. requires altering patterns of goal. it is associated with grandiosity or with narcissism. Hubris. a skilled and intelligent fighter. rules and goals …. d. He would have returned Helen to her husband in order to protect his family. seers and divination were taken seriously. Hubris has been discussed by many writers as the reason for their downfall. 2015).). The three problems associated with the prideful person are (1) it is a transient but addictive emotion. after all. the characters are free to exercise their will. ibid. both had so much self-confidence. Prince Paris would listen to the prophecies of his sister. However. Paris relied on in the goddess Athena‟s promise that Helen is his prize. hubristic is defined as to be insolent or contemptuous. and the citizens of Troy (See Figure 07). even by the royals. n.3 Fate For clarification. For Sophocles and his Greek audience. defined as “exaggerated pride or self-confidence often resulting in retribution” (Lewis. (Lewis. 2013.setting or evaluation around what constitutes success. Prince Oedipus would probably use calm logical deduction and choose to stay in Corinth (See Figure 11) in order to keep everybody safe. As exemplified in the tragic Greek plays and stories. therefore. Why King Oedipus and Prince Paris did what they had to do and how others probably interacted with them can be inferred from the following definition of hubris: Hubris is a consequence of an evaluation of success at one‟s standards.

12). d. pride focuses the organism on its action. You can still call it hamartia even if the hero makes these mistakes in a state of ignorance (Wayne. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera 5 Authors familiar with ancient Greek agree that hubris should not be translated as pride but as “the quality of not keeping awareness of your human limitations: the opposite of sophrosyne (moderation. there is a more accurate translation: an error in judgment or a mistake (Wayne. the self and object are separated …. error. (n. because they were young with the rashness of youth. but instead pushes events towards eventual downfall. it is an error that does not immediately cause downfall. or sin. the hero might attempt to achieve a certain objective X. al. Anon. The organism is engrossed in the specific action which gives it pride. d. For example.). (Lewis. p. The term hubris has often been used synonymously with pride but the latter is distinct from the former. as well as deliberate iniquity. Hamartia is when a hero aims his arrow at the bull's eye. n. self-control) which is “moral sanity and. However. where subject and object are fused. but ends up hitting something altogether unexpected. Because this positive state is associated with a particular action. Prince Oedipus saves a city from a sphinx and instead . d.). the hero instead achieves the opposite of X. [5]. Hubris. individuals have available to themselves the means by which they can reproduce the state..Fates. Protagonists unknowingly weave more threads in webs that trap them to their fate. The forces of hubris shaped the story of Oedipus and Paris. In pride. pride‟s specific focus allows for action. For instance. 28). or accidental wrongdoing. n. Notice that. The … experience is “joy over an action. balance. Unlike shame and hubris. This is explained by Pawar. however. d. Pride is the consequence of a successful evaluation of a specific action. and because they were royalty. et. thought or feeling well done. jealousy and ambition (Anon. both proud men probably because they were male in a paternalistic society. with disastrous consequences (p.” … the focus of pleasure is specific and related to a particular behaviour. selfcontrol or moderation guided by true self-knowledge and even chastity” (Anon. ibid. by making an error in judgment.). ibid.). from there. n. mistaken. d.5 Hamartia The term hamartia has been misconstrued as synonymous with hubris (Haderlie. The word hamartia is rooted in the notion of missing the mark (hamartanein) and covers a broad spectrum that includes ignorant. [6].) 1.) or tragic flaw. 2009. [7]. n. unlike hubris. a series of hamartia serve to build up audience emotions towards an expected and inevitable ending. pride. In tragic literature.

and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera becomes king of the city. “often resulting in retribution” (Lewis. When Prince Paris abandons the nymph Oneone in favor of Helen. 6 . thus achieving catharsis. This action has a consequence: she refuses to heal him when he is mortally wounded in battle. which satisfies the audience. Hubris.Fates. which is the success criterion of tragic literature. 2) which should be certain and irrevocable retribution. Another example is when he claims his reward by marrying Queen Jocasta and instead commits incest. with no chance at all of averting it. Hamartia achieves something other than the character‟s intended goal while hubris dooms the character to fulfill what is fated. p. he commits hamartia. 2011. To summarize: hamartia is to do something for a purpose but instead misses the mark and achieves something else while hubris is action based on overweening arrogance and wrong assumptions.

only seven survived. and Homer created characters and stories based on Oedipus but with different characterizations and motivations. his hubris and hamartia.Fates. Teiresias says that one who is guilty of Laius‟s death must pay for the plague to be lifted. 2. hangs herself.). and two daughters. Oedipus sends his brother-in-law Creon to the Oracle to ask for a solution. and the events around him (See Summary of the Story). Thebes is attacked by a plague. He married Laius‟ widow.2 Plot Summary Oedipus3. and (3) The actions of Oedipus as shaped by his character. Thebaid. meaning “swollen foot” 4 Two sons. It is revealed that Oedipus was the killer. Antigone and Ismene . Fearing that he would kill his parents (the King and the Queen of Corinth) he flees to Thebes. What fate doomed the character of Oedipus? The character of Oedipus was fated to commit patricide and maternal incest. Oedipus’ destiny prevailed in the end no matter what interventions other characters did. and has four children with her. (2) The character of Oedipus. Of his 120 plays. After arriving in Thebes. Jocasta. 2. also called Oedipus Tyrannos or Oedipus Rex. Jocasta. Pindar.ca 3 Or Oidipodes.1 Background Sophocles (496 BC-406 BC) was a famous and successful Athenian writer of tragedies.4 After many years of peace and prosperity. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera 2 7 OEDIPUS REX In the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex. was written around 420 BC and regarded as a classic in Greek tragic drama (Castelluber. Eteocles and Polyneices. son of King Laius & Jocasta of Thebes and raised as a Prince of Corinth learned from a drunk guest during a party that he is not the son of king of Corinth. See Table: Outline of Oedipus Rex. Oidepodea. he finds the city under attack from the Sphinx (See Figure 4). 2014) due to the interplay of three elements: (1) The prophecies regarding his future. See page 13 of Outline of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex at carleton. 2 Euripides. n. Aeschylus.2 Oedipus the King. upon hearing the news. Hubris. Oedipus kills his biological father in on the way to Thebes. Oedipus blinds himself and is exiled (See Figure 14). Oedipus goes to the Oracle of Delphi to know the truth. He is doomed (Johnston. d. He hears the prophecy that he would kill his father and marry his mother. Stesichorus.

He was also characterized as a creative thinker: impulsive. Queen Jocasta. these negative qualities pushed him to commit hamartia and ensure his fated doom. which indicates hamartia. but for a physical deformity in his lower limbs. hubris and character ruled. each one with slightly differing characterizations and relationships. responsible. religious.4 The Character of Oedipus Oedipus was characterized by Sophocles as young. acceptance. The table indicates that almost all of Oedipus‟ decisions resulted in something other than his intended goal. and by Queen Jocasta‟s former messenger who saved the baby‟s life in the wilderness of Cithaeron (See Figure 2). and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera 8 2. 2. 1994. . the character of Oedipus reacted to situations that showed a lack of humility. On the other hand. but proof of truth. 2014). and problem-solver. charming. hamartia. Oedipus had “the same positive characteristics that all ordinary human beings but to a greater degree” (Nikolarea. Hubris. before he was even conceived. The Oracle in Greece repeated this to Oedipus when he was a young man. intelligent. Only three sealed his fate. 2. decision-maker.3 The Prophecies of the Oracle It was prophesied that Oedipus would kill his own father and marry his own mother. 1912. These counter-productive qualities were sometimes helpful in furthering his personal goals and beliefs but failed to balance his more numerous positive qualities.Fates. and Reddy. This prophecy was revealed to his mother. These truths were confirmed by the appearance of the shepherd who carried the baby Oedipus to Corinth. However. As the classical definition of a tragic protagonist requires. The following table outlines 10 pivotal decisions of Oedipus in Sophocles‟ Oedipus 5 Rex. Instead. He sought not only proof. He was also a highly focused and introspective young man. 5 The story of Oedipus has been told by several writers. mindfulness. Barstow. these three are hubris.5 The Actions of Oedipus Oedipus could have acted to prevent his own downfall. and self-control. Although there were many choices that he could have taken. and healthy. the same qualities that made him a respected and effective leader ensured that the prophecies regarding him would come true.

there is still a possibility that the prophecy would not happen. He decided to marry his Queen Jocasta. This is hamartia: his aim was not realized. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera 9 Table 1: Hamartia and Hubris in Sophocles‟ Oedipus Rex The 10 Actions of Sophocles‟ Oedipus Hamartia Hubris 1.  3. something else happened. He decides to solve the riddle of the Sphinx. He decided to conduct the inquiry in a public forum.  2. At this point. This is not hubris because his actions did not cause the prophecy to immediately come true.5. Oedipus flees Corinth. He decided to abandon the parents he knew so as to protect them. they have four children.Fates. His decision can be classified as hamartia: he aimed to know his biological parents but. He decided to seek the truth regarding his parentage. He decided to kill a stranger when he felt insulted. This can be classified as hamartia: his goal was to protect the people that . He could have left it alone and continued his life as prince of Thebes. He decided that King Laius‟ killer can choose death or banishment. The Oracle doesn't answer his question but says that Oedipus will kill his father and marry his mother. Oedipus goes to the Delphic Oracle to find identify his biological parents.1 He decides to know the truth regarding his parentage. his decision cannot be classified as is hubris because this action did not cause the prophecy to immediately come true.  6. Hubris. Again. for instance.  5. 4. 10. to non-happening of his next decisions.  8. He decided to solve the pestilence of Thebes.5. Instead. 9. At this point. when he tries to confirm a rumor that he isn't the biological son of Corinthian King Polybus and Corinthian Queen Merope. Instead. instead. For instance.2 He abandons the parents he knew by protecting them. the prophecy could still be averted by. He decided to exile himself. learned of a terrible prophecy.  7. He decided to gouge out his own eyes. 2. To escape that fate or to save his then known parents.      2. he doesn't get a straight answer from his adoptive parents. The story could well have ended with him as king of Thebes.

turns out to be Laius. The man presents an insulting. Instead. His decision to do so fulfilled the second half of the prophecy. 2. He arrives at a crossroads where one of three roads leads to Thebes. Oedipus arrives at the city gates of Thebes where he frees the city from the control of a Sphinx by solving an unsolvable riddle (See Figure 4). This is not hubris because it does not fulfill the prophecy of doom 2. later. newly-widowed queen as his wife.5.” 2. Oedipus responds in kind and kills the man who. He could have consciously strived to control his temper. Instead. 6 What life form moves on all fours in the morning. He missed the mark: he did not achieve his goal.5 He decides to marry the widowed Queen of Thebes. he accepted his rewards and married the royal widow who is old enough to be his mother.Fates. Hubris. He did not aim to commit incest. This is hubris: this action fulfilled half of the prophecy.3 He kills a stranger when he felt insulted. and he achieved exactly that. 2. If he chose not to take this action. This is hubris: he felt entitled to claim his prize. on twos in the afternoon. his tragic end would not have come to pass.5. He could have decided to be humble. As a reward. respect the age gap between him and the queen.5. This is hamartia: his goal was to claim a prize by marrying the queen.6 He missed the mark: his goal was to save a city but he instead got a kingdom. violent challenge to Oedipus' right of way.5. but that is what happened. and ask for another reward instead of the kingship of Thebes. This is not hamartia because his goal was to kill the man.4 He decides to solve the riddle of the Sphinx. his fate would have been different. and respectful of the force of divine prophecy. Along that road comes a churlish. If this did not happen. mainly because the people that he sought to protect were not his biological parents. and on threes in the evening? [man] . surly stranger whom he resembles and who is old enough to be his father. He did not “miss the mark. King of Thebes and his biological father. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera 10 he identified as his parents. He could have been mindful of the reason why he left Corinth. the Thebans offer him the vacant throne and the grieving.6 He decides to solve the pestilence that ravaged Thebes. Oedipus could have stayed mindful of the prophecy and avoided killing anyone. He could have chosen to be polite to an elder person.

He could have used his intelligence (he solved an unsolvable riddle) and deduced the truth from the clues available to him. Instead.5. he was a king and respected by his people. Oedipus insists everything all his actions for helping the city must be done in public. He could have been tolerant and forgiving enough to design other options for atonement." If Oedipus had better control of his temper. However. He was self-confident and proud in in solving these two problems before the whole city of Thebes.7 He issues a decree to automatically punish King Laius’ killer. He rejected logical reasoning and followed his impulses and passionate sense of justice. without consideration any for extenuating circumstances. believing that he had escaped the terrible prophecies. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera 11 Much later. he was relatively at peace now. This is not hubris because it is not the fated murder of his father or incest with his mother. a pestilence ravages Thebes of its harvests. In addition. This has nothing to do with his fate of patricide and maternal incest. He achieved something else: he found the killer of King Laius. in the presence of his people. Oedipus decides upon an automatic punishment of execution or exile. Instead. . or at least learned of the truth in private so that he could examine other options. He could have adopted an attitude of humility or at least more self-control. "You are the murderer you seek. He was driven to unearth the murder and solve the plague. 2. he had a good life and this should have given him a measure of peace and serenity of mind. he might have avoided this public revelation. After all. This is hamartia: he aimed to save a kingdom. Teiresias lost his own temper as well and told Oedipus. not fate. This is his decision. he was a husband as well as a father of twin boys and two daughters. In addition. This is hamartia: his rashness and self-belief pushed his aim to punish a killer and remove a pestilence. It is not hubris because it is not the action that he was fated to do.5. In short.8 He decides to conduct the inquiry in a public forum. As a result. Finally. Hubris. its livestock. From Apollo's shrine it's learned that the killer[s] of Laius must be identified and punished. 2.Fates. when Creon suggests that they should discuss the news from the oracle in private. and its people (See Figure 3). He did not listen to advice. he once again lost his temper when Teiresias refused to tell him what he wanted to know. what he achieved was a situation that ensured the realization of his fate.

and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera 12 Is this hamartia or hubris? If it is hamartia. 2. 2. Before Oedipus was born. the Delphic oracle declared he would kill his father and marry his mother. Something else happened: he became helpless. it is hamartia. Instead. By itself. and that these realities could have been avoided if he decided to see the indicators or listen to those who tried to help him.5. She acts on her decision and began the series of events that led to her suicide.6 Recapitulation A combination of fate. he aimed to know the killer and instead achieved something else – an accusation.). someone else became their king. Laius and Oedipus. 2. ibid. fate would not happen. Fate shaped the life of the character.9 He gouges out his own eyes. he know that his pride had blinded him. This is hamartia: his goal was to stop seeing terrible things. They did not exhibit love or respect for him. His life in Thebes ends as a blind beggar in exile.Fates. Both combined to fulfill his fate. fate happened. he is forced by his own character to punish himself. Although fate predetermines the turning points in the lives of Jocasta. freely choosing various actions” (Hosain. When it was discovered that he had caused the plague of Thebes and ruined his daughters‟ futures. it should seal his doom. Right then and there.10 He chooses exile over death. when he realized that his two sons and two daughters were children of incest. foresight and bravery” but later realize that fate cannot be circumvented. Hubris.. she attempted to avert the foretelling by having her messenger remove the child. This is hamartia: his goal was to redeem himself in the eyes of his people. Antigone (See Figure 1 and Figure 13). When he found that his wife was his mother and that she had killed herself by hanging. character.5. cruelty. they “are not altogether puppets in the hands of fate… they are free agents. and events doomed Oedipus to his fate. The main characters try and circumvent fate with “pity. by holding it in a public forum. Three of his decisions were hubris while eight actions were hamartia. However. She knew what the oracle had prophesied. If it is hubris. When she became pregnant with King Laius‟s child. accompanied only by his daughter. Jocasta. he decides to physically blind himself. .

and blind Oedipus argues that his past was not his fault. He was a respected king. The young Oedipus was dissatisfied with their evasions regarding his parentage and set out on a journey where one part of the foretelling came about: he killed his biological father. Oedipus lacked discretion and self-control. .7 I suggest that Oedipus' downfall was a logical outcome of the writer‟s plot structure. He was an introspective person as well as a ruthless seeker of truth and justice. in the sequel Oedipus at Colonus. accepting his infamy and begging for punishment although his errors could have been justified. 7 At the end of Oedipus the King. They are pre-informed of future events and they chose to act accordingly to avert those events. Jocasta and Oedipus are fated. He acts on his viewpoints without bothering to investigate it. individual characters and decisions sealed their fates. and his insistence on being exiled showed his great pride and intentions towards the best interests of his kingdom. However. his rashness is indicative of his integrity. his investigation of the murder. (b) foretelling. He chained and handed over the baby Oedipus to a servant who passed it to a Corinthian shepherd. Decisions classified as hubris made the foretelling real. Oedipus is magnificent as a heroic character. with hamartia as contributing factors. While the tragedies in the lives of Laius. The elements of that fiction include: (a) character. the old. he was entirely unaware that he killed his father and wedded his mother or that he caused the plague. but not the foretold event itself. Hubris. This can be seen as indicative of his high level of self-confidence and of his desire to know and. He tried to prevent the foretelling of the Delphic Oracle. to control. Fate. thereby. the riddle of the Sphinx. True. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera 13 Fate sealed the destiny of the character Laius. who passed the baby to the Corinthian king. character. effective in times of crises. such as when decides to have Creon put to death. and (c) decisions. his bloody and violent gouging of his own eyes. both hubris and hamartia. his killing Laius. However. Hamartia contributed to the realization of the foretelling. His reasoning was distorted by his temper and impulsiveness. be he seemed to show a lack of inferential abilities. Decisions classified as hamartia were errors that achieved something other than the goal. the critical turning points of the story are caused by Oedipus' character and decision fuelled by hubris. Oedipus' brilliance and determination serve him well in solving mysteries such as his parentage. helpless. However.Fates. He cannot accept the predictions. and the mysterious plague of Thebes. and action brought about the tragedies in the life of Oedipus. he rejected the very idea of fate and the idea that he is not in total control of his life. King Laius of Thebes. The child grew up as the son of King Polybus and Queen Merope of Corinth.

Troy and its royal house would still be destroyed due to the actions of Paris. 8 Paris‟s trip to Sparta would bring disaster. died. the parents heeded her warning and had the baby put to death. though the Trojan seer Laocoon confirmed her” (Parada & Förlag. fled to the temples to seek protection. they exposed the child. Cassandra declared that there was an armed force hidden inside the wooden horse that the Achaeans had abandoned in the plain. Cassandra foretold many events. seeing what was happening.Fates. Hubris. 1997). two of her prophecies were heeded: when she advised the destruction of the baby Paris. and three were ignored. except those belonging to traitors. were set on fire and destroyed… (the Achaeans) slaughtered whomever they found on the streets. but lacking the power of persuasion. Again no one listened. n. The members of the Trojan royal family. the House of Troy and the city suffered tragic endings including Cassandra herself (Kluth. and that even if everyone believed Cassandra‟s utterings. This can indicate that what is fated is fated. could Paris’ destiny have been avoided? Why or why not? When Paris was born. 8 “Following the advice of Cassandra's half-brother Aesacus who had learned the art of interpreting dreams from his maternal grandfather Merops. d.). resulting in tragic ends of those close to Paris? Although Cassandra is “the Trojan seeress who uttered true prophecies. feigning retreat. was never believed” (Parada & Förlag. Ignored Helen‟s stay in Troy will bring calamities upon the Trojans9 Bringing the Trojan horse into the city will destroy Troy. 1997). However. When her other warnings were ignored. Paris survived and fulfilled the prophecy. or in homes. Table 2: Some Prophecies by Princess Cassandra Paris will cause the destruction of Troy (Johnston. d. Cassandra's suitor. 1997). for he. Cassandra foretold that he would cause the destruction of Troy. 10 “Near the end of the Trojan War. and when she recognized Paris as her lost brother. 1997). attacked the superior enemy in a passion of rage and was slain” (Parada & Förlag. 9 “All buildings. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera 3 14 HELEN OF TROY What prophecies of Cassandra were ignored. seeing her outraged and abused. Heeded 10 Ignored Ignored If Cassandra’s prophecies were heeded. or in temples. The following table presents the key prophecies. since he declared that Paris was to become the ruin of the country” (Parada & Förlag. n. but four were critical turning points of the story. it was then that Coroebus.). . To avert the foretelling.

he was going for the most beautiful woman in the world at that time. Prince Priam. It is not hamartia because they did not miss the mark. philandering envoy instead. When Prince Priam was tasked to travel to Greece on a peace mission. Hubris. the Trojans do not return Helen to the Greeks. King Priam and Queen Hecuba assign Prince Priam to go to Sparta in Greece. At this point. They may have acted to assuage parental guilt over the unexecuted infanticide or to express parental love. they got war. Instead. Prince Priam decides to go to Greece. the Trojans bring in the wooden horse. so there is still freedom of choice.  Despite Cassandra‟s warnings. The royal family and the citizenry could have pressured Paris to return Helen to Troy.Fates. this is not hubris. this conforms to the definition of hamartia. and they got it. so this is not hubris. This non-decision or tacit decision was hubris because it caused their deaths and the destruction of their city. war might still have been averted with the proper propitiations or the return of Helen. no retribution came down. He aimed for his prize and got the anger of the Greeks instead. they did not. they embraced the foretold destroyer of their city. Thus. those who ignored Cassandra‟s warnings against this journey committed hamartia: they got a selfindulgent. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera 15 Table 3: Hamartia and Hubris in Homer‟s The Iliad Plot Developments Hamartia Hubris King Priam and Queen Hecuba accept and name Alexandros as their youngest son. Instead. Instead of eliciting peace. Again. and to not post guards around the horse that night. whom they abandoned to death as a baby. this is not hubris because retribution could still be averted with judicious action at this point. secure that Athena has promised Helen to him. . Thus. They knew that by not returning Helen. the fated doom was still not sealed.  Prince Priam has a love affair with Queen Helen and decides to take her away to Troy.  Despite Cassandra‟s warnings. Despite Cassandra‟s warnings.   When King Priam and Queen Hecuba pronounced Paris as their long-lost son.  Although they have many other children. Prince Paris committed hamartia when he decided to ignore Cassandra‟s warning against his going to Greece as well as against keeping Helen in Troy. All the while. they were inviting war from the Greeks.

12 The Greeks across the waters had long wanted to attack Troy for commercial and political reasons ((See Figure 9)). Troy's six-acre citadel had walls more than 30 feet high and 12 feet thick (See Figure 8).. His half-brothers included Aesacus. 2012). Before that. 14 Paris means "backpack" (πήρα) because the herdsman Agelaus brought carried him in a backpack from Mount Ida and raised him as his own son. when it was abandoned and consigned to myth. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera 16 3. He was abandoned to die. At that time. and Aphrodite (See Figure 15). 2008). ibid. It was rediscovered in the 1870s by the wealthy German businessman and pioneering archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann whose work at Troy laid the foundations for modern archaeology” (Devitt.).Fates. Troy's massive walls were considered impenetrable (Udallas. He was the youngest son (Scott. Hubris. Gamer. Polydorus. 2001. Helenus17. 15 Also: Priamos 16 Also: Hekuba or Hekabe 17 Also: Helenos 12 . 3. n. when Paris was a child. Keko. d.2 Backstory Prince Alexander13 Paris14 of Troy was born in Troy.500 years. when he was a young shepherd. 13 The name Alexandros means "defender" because. not until Helen relocated toTroy (Guisepi. he bested other men. 2010. Lycaon and Gorgythion (Geni. Homer‟s Greek tragedy. Creusa and Cassandra (Classical Mythology.org). but survived and returned to his royal household as a favored youngest son. 1992). and was known for his fighting skills as well as fairness. Polyxena. 2008) of King Priam15 of Troy and Queen Hecuba. he was chosen to judge and award a golden apple to the most beautiful among three goddesses: Hera. he routed a gang of cattle-thieves and returned the stolen animals.1 Background The plot elements and characters of the movie Helen of Troy is taken from The Iliad by Homer.wikipedia. Deïphobus. “The site was occupied almost continuously for about 4. d. 11 “Now northwest Anatolia in modern Turkey” (en. The Iliad. [8 ]. but they had no strong reason to break their common cultural honor code.16 His 99 siblings included eldest brother Hector. had a love a affair with a nymph. n. 2014. Hippodamas. Written in 1186 BC (Jewsbury. Anon. Thus. now Turkey.D. from the beginning of the Bronze Age to the 13th century A. Troana. a crossroads between East and West and a flashpoint for conflict in both ancient and modern times” (Devitt. is set in the “palatial city” of Troy (See Figure 5)11 “on the Dardanelles.). “A walled lower town covered an expanse of 50 acres” (Devitt.). 2012). Athena. 2015).

n. Cassandra attacked her for the pain that was about to be caused. and took away Menelaus‟ wife Queen Helen.19 This began the ten-year war between the Greeks and the Trojans. He went to Sparta. She knew that her friends and family will face horrible deaths and suffering. taken as a sex slave. d. The Story Before the Story of the Iliad (2013) is available at classicalwisdom. others that she fell in love with him and went willingly Or Helen 20 A detailed backstory. After he won in King Priam‟s athletic competitions.4. who enjoyed the love of the nymph Oenones. resulting in the downfall of the House of Troy and the devastation of the citadel of Troy in Hissarlik. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera 17 3. King Priam. that her home and city and people will be destroyed. son of king Priam and his queen Hecuba who heard an oracle‟s foretelling that Paris would cause Troy's ruin. [9]. would bring about a war that would destroy their city. to return Helen to Greece so as to avoid the destruction of Troy. The rulers of the Greek kingdoms raised a powerful army and a fleet of over a thousand ships to win back Helen. After (Anon. and granted her the gift of prophecy in return for sex. Paris was killed with an arrow from Philoctetes. Cassandra knew that war was coming to Troy. if he went to Sparta. was welcomed by King Menelaus. Just before his death. Shepherds adopted Paris. and that she would be murdered by a king‟s jealous wife. Her brother did not believe her.3 Plot Summary Prince Paris of Troy visits the king of Sparta and leaves18 with the king‟s wife Helen. Paris begged his beloved nymph Oenone to heal him. Priam believed and wanted to follow her advice. The god Apollo became infatuated with Cassandra‟s beauty. Hubris. However.2 The Destruction of Troy Many times Cassandra warned her father.4. but she refused. Helen. her brother. that she will be raped. The Greeks attacked Troy and began a war that lasted 10 years.4 The Prophecies of Cassandra Cassandra was the most beautiful and talented daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba.Fates. They left the child to die on Mount Ida.20 Paris is the Prince of Troy21. Cassandra got the gift but refused to have sex so Apollo made sure that no one would ever believe her prophecies. 3.com 21 Some sources name him as Alexander or Alexandros. 3. her mother Queen Hecuba convinced Priam to desist and strongly forbade Cassandra to stop her 18 Some legends say that Paris forcibly abducted Helen.1 The Coming of the War She foretold that Paris.. and upon his return from Sparta with Menelaus' wife.). 19 . 3. he was reunited with his family.

4. King Telephus of Mysia. Pain stalked both sides warring parties and those who came to their aid. Deaths included Protesilaus. Ares. the Greeks and their leader.Fates.6 Slavery of the Queen The women became slaves.23 Achilles killed Paris‟ brother Hector after Paris killed Patroclus. Paris‟ half-brother Lycaon was killed by Achilles. after Paris‟ death. but Odysseus captured Helenus. For instance. deaths touched even those who were not in the war. 3. killed the sentries. The Greeks looted. 3. When the Greeks withdrew to a nearby island leaving outside the walls the wooden with a few men hiding inside. Hubris. Hector's young son Astyanax was thrown from the walls of the city. As a result. 22 23 Also called Neoptolemus One story says that Paris was slain by a poisoned arrow from the bow of Philoctetes. By morning almost all Trojan males were dead. listened to prophecies Helenus. no one listened. and opened the gates to let the Greek army in. his father. and his son. his first love. was brutally sacrificed on the tomb of Achilles. Odysseus came up with the idea of a huge wooden horse to capture Troy at long last.4. was killed by Achilles‟ son Pyrrhus22 to avenge his father‟s death. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera 18 prophecies. They slaughtered the Trojans – including– and set the city on fire Paris was killed by the Achaian warrior. As a result. Achilles‟ squire and best friend. and Diomedes were injured.5 Death of the King and his Men The great King Priam. Aenas. 3. who also could predict the future. Odysseus.4. 3. . managed to escape the slaughter. she warned her compatriots to leave the horse outside of the city halls (See Figure 6). Unlike the Trojans. or else be imprisoned. and massacred the inhabitants. Queen Hecuba became the slave of Odysseus. Paris‟ sister. who huddled in fear near Zeus' altar. Patroclus. Princess Polyxena and beloved by Achilles. the nymph Oenone committed suicide.3 Abduction of a Seer When Cassandra predicted the abduction of her brother Helenus by the Greek hero Odysseus.4 The Devastation of Troy She foretold the sacking of Troy. That night the soldiers crept from the horse. only Aeneas. Prince Achilles or by Philoctetes. they tore destroyed parts of their wall to bring the horse inside the city. set fires throughout the city.4. Instead.

The writing conventions require that Prince Paris Alexandros of Troy. Some sources mention that Cassandra and Agamemnon had twin boys. [10] n. both of whom were killed by Aegisthus. compression techniques such as flashbacks and foretelling. Electra and Orestes. many Greeks and many Trojans 3. Anon. an epic tale spanning years. Queen Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus killed the king and Cassandra (Anon. hamartia to hasten the sealing of fates. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera 19 Palamedes. Homer wove The Iliad.7 Cassandra’s Murder. Hubris. Pandarus. Cassandra also foresaw that Odysseus will wander for a decade. Considering these elements and frameworks of fiction in tragic dramaturgy. use specific writing conventions such as the willing suspension of disbelief. 3. and characterizations with heroic proportions. [11]. and so will Paris and his loved ones. should be overcome by circumstance. Antilochus. Troy will fall. d. the Apollonian priestess Cassandra. n. Teledamus and Pelops. Much later. in the case the fates foretold by his sister.4. and Beyond Cassandra was raped by Ajax and then enslaved by King Agamemnon. Queen Helena of Greece goes down in history as Helen of Troy. King Rhesus. Memnon. Cassandra foretold that Clymnestra and Aegisthus will be killed by her children. because this is how the tragedy happens to Paris. and including gods and mortals. . Within this framework of fiction writing.5 Recapitulation The best of classical dramaturgy. a central character.).. hubris to seal fates. Queen Penthesilea. Cassandra goes down in history as an adjective that describes a person spouting dire portents ignored by those who choose to be blind to future consequences and preferring instead to stay within their present comfort zones. particularly Greek tragedies. the reactions of the characters to Cassandra‟s prophecies will not matter. d.Fates. cultures.

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The Oracle and the Murder of Laius 1. Oedipus puts out his eyes with hairpins 8. Oedipus consults Delphic Oracle 2. Laius flees from Thebes to the court of Pelops 2. Oracle: Find and punish Laius' murderer 3. Creon now rules From Anon. Slowly discovers truth. wings) 2. pp. gives it to friend from Corinth 6. A plague in Thebes. son of Pelops. rulers of Corinth 7. Friend gives it to Polybus and Merope. 10-11 22 . Is abused by man and entourage at crossroads 6. Thebes and the Sphinx 1. Laius learns from oracle that his own son would kill him 5.. Oracle: "You will kill your father and marry your mother" 4. Creon. is accused by friend of being a bastard 2. Asks prophet Teiresias. Creon: whoever solves riddle. No one can solve her riddle 3. Child called Oedipus („swollen foot‟) B. Oedipus solves riddle D. rules Thebes/marries Jocasta 5. Hubris. via his own investigation 6. Laius rapes Chrysippus. brother of Jocasta. who tells him that he is the murderer 4. half woman. Oedipus wants to leave Thebes. Oedipus suspects conspiracy 5. Sophocles’ Oedipus the King 1. Oedipus. d. Shepherd pities child. ruler in Laius' absence 4. grown. Laius returns to Thebes. marries Jocasta 4. Goes to Delphi to ask Oracle who his parents are 3.Fates. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera APPENDICES Table 4: Outline of Sophocles‟ Oedipus Rex A. Jocasta hangs herself 7. [12] n. The Sphinx (half lion. Pelops curses Laius 3. Oedipus kills them all except one C. Decides to avoid Corinth and heads toward Thebes 5. Laius and Jocasta 1.

Hubris.com 23 Figure 2: The Messenger with the infant Oedipus Sculpture by Antoine-Denis Chaudet aclassicaday.Fates.com .com Figure 3: The Plague of Thebes Charles François Jalabeat (1819-1901) Musée des Beaux Arts. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera Figure 1: Oedipus in Exile Painting by Fulchran-Jean Harriet aclassicaday. Marseilles thanasis.com Figure 4: Oedipus and the Sphinx thanasis.blogspot.blogspot.

and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera Figure 5: The Nine Layers of Troy The History Behind Greek Mythology hubimg.com Figure 6: The Wooden Horse enters Troy Laser mapping spots lost city in Honduras media2.Fates.s-nbcnews.com 24 . Hubris.

and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera Figure 7: Excavation Map of Troy Exploring the Ruins of Ancient Troy: A Visitor's Guide Jess Lee.com 25 .gifwww.com Figure 8: Aerial View of the City of Troy Project. Hubris.Fates.goddesses. planetware.

org 26 .umich.Fates.edu Figure 10: Greek Amphitheater uss-bennington. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera Figure 9: Possible Route of Greek Expedition to Troy www. Hubris.

Fates.wikia. Egypt Artist’s rendition at vignette4. Hubris.com Figure 12: Thebes.nocookie.net 27 . now Luxor. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera Figure 11: Map location of Thebes and Corinth rapgenius.

org Figure 15: The Judgment of Paris Enrique Simonet Lombardo.Fates. Dallas Museum of Art tumblr.com wikimedia.com . 1904 classicalwisdom. Hubris. 1828 Jean-Antoine-Théodore Giroust. 1788. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera 28 Figure 13: Oedipus & Antigone Figure 14: Oedipus at Colonus Antoni Brodowski.

and even Helen. The Trojans retreat within their walls. The Trojans fall back. BOOK XII. Poseidon. Athena. Artemis. and Hephaestus. As part of his mourning. BOOK X. (2002). while Achilles is winning the day. His mother Thetis promises to buy him some new armor overnight.edu . Zeus allows the gods to join in the battle. Poseidon disobeys Zeus and helps rally the Greeks. BOOK VI. Canary. Homer gives long lists of both and their allies. Achilles agrees to let Patroclus wear his armor and lead his men. too. his mother Hecuba. Achilles holds the war off while funeral rites are held for Hector. BOOK XV. and Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and in Helen of Troy: by Jaime Cabrera 29 Table 5: Summary of Homer‟s Iliad BOOK I. The Greeks are supported by Hera. Hector leads a Trojan rout of the Greeks. Lured by a false dream sent by Zeus. Achilles sends his closest friend Patroclus (or Patrokles) to find out who it is. BOOK XI. Zeus wakes up mad at his wife and sends Apollo to heal Hector. BOOK VII. Diomedes and the Trojan hero Glaucus discover that their fathers were friends and exchange armor--Diomedes gets the better of the bargain. BOOK XXIII. Zeus insists that he give the body back. Sent to spy on the Trojans. He knows that his glory will mean his death. The Olympians quarrel among themselves and help stir up battle on the fields of Troy. BOOK II. and the gods help Hector's father Priam sneak into the Greek camp to beg for it. Agamemnon reluctantly gives the girl up but insists on taking in her place Briseis. the Greeks mass for battle. Priam's brother-in-law Antenor advises the Trojans to give up Helen. BOOK VIII. wound Aphrodite as that goddess is bearing her Trojan son Aeneas off the battlefield. many of whom understandably resented her role in bringing on the war. Nestor carries off one of the wounded. BOOK III. Guided by Zeus.Fates. a captive originally assigned to Achilles--hence the "wrath of Achilles. There is a big fight for the battle of Patroclus. Hector wreaks havoc. BOOK XVII. who comes back and burns the Greek ships. Paris agrees to single combat with Menelaus to settle the issue of the war and everyone on both sides hopes that the war will soon be over. the Trojans break through the Greek walls. BOOK XXI. as do the Trojans. Odysseus and Diomedes capture a Trojan spy and learn about a Trojan ally on his way. BOOK XVI. Hector reproaches himself for not having retreated at the first appearance of Achilles. BOOK XVIII. BOOK IV. Homer's epic ends with Hector mourned by his wife Andromache." which is the epic's announced topic. the Trojans. The next day brings another bloody battle. giving his bronze armor in return for golden armor. Apollo is angry because Agamemnon has failed to let one of the god's priests ransom a daughter Agamemnon had allotted himself as a war-prize. Electronic document available at homepages. The Greeks build a wall and dig a moat to protect their ships. by Apollo. and Diomedes wounds him. The Trojan hero Hector drops home during battle to make some sacrifices. His wife Andromache begs him not to leave her a widow. Menelaus goes to tell Achilles his friend is dead. Hubris. BOOK XIII. Summary of Homer’s Iliad. who persuades Zeus to let the Trojans prevail in battle until Achilles's honor is satisfied. Funeral games are part of the magnificent burial Achilles gives Patroclus. Athena helps Diomedes. but nightfall keeps them from climbing the walls and burning the ships. Achilles keeps dragging the body of Hector around the tomb. Ares comes to the aid of the Trojans. they fight till night without result. but when Paris starts to lose Aphrodite wafts him away. and Nestor urges Patroclus to wear Achilles's armor and lead their men into battle. and Apollo keeps Athena from helping the Greeks. BOOK V. Led by Hector.uwp. Just seeing him come out to the field of battle makes the Trojans retreat some. Achilles weeps and carries on. and the Trojans are driven back. but Paris refuses. BOOK XIX. Ares. but he goes back to battle anyway. while Hera (borrowing a magic girdle from Aphrodite) seduces Zeus and lulls him to sleep. BOOK XX. but Achilles won't come back. He goes out to meet Achilles in single combat and is slain. Achilles ties his body behind a chariot and drags it off to the Greek ships. BOOK XXII. BOOK XIV. Poseidon keeps Agamemnon from calling a retreat to the ships. and Aphrodite. Hector is wounded by a stone. B. but Hector kills Patroclus after Apollo stuns him. the son of King Tydeus of Argos. Achilles reconciles with Agamemnon and leads the Greeks to battle. to whom he had been kinder than most Trojans. Even Helen is mad at both Paris and the goddess. Agamemnon finally agrees to return Briseis to Achilles and give him other great gifts. Advised by Nestor. BOOK XXIV. Thetis. BOOK IX. Achilles complains to his divine mother. The gods quarrel among themselves. Ajax is chosen to face Hector in single combat. They kill him and the spy. Hermes.