*The Iliad By Homer (Condensed Version) The Iliad is an epic poem that was once told orally in song

by traveling poets, or minstrels and was later written down by Homer. Epics are distinct from other poetry for a number of reasons: they focus on a hero who is larger than life, u sually stronger, braver, or more intelligent than other men; the hero performs s ome dangerous feat that saves his nation or his tribe; the setting is vast and g rand and often extends into the supernatural; the action encompasses deeds of va lor; the hero must overcome tremendous odds and obstacles; and the language and style of the poem is grand and elaborate to match the story. This language rema ined intact even when poets like Homer transferred the poems from an oral to a w ritten format. Scholars were able to determine the date of Homer's writing by tracing the histo ry of oral epics and of written language. They knew that epic poems were origin ally recited from memory. And they also knew that the ability to compose and re cite poems of such length was one that existed only in preliterate society. So they concluded that The Iliad was recorded soon after writing was introduced int o Greece. From studies of the earliest examples of Greek writing, found inscrib ed on bronze and stone, they could set this date at about 750 B.C. Either Homer himself put the story down on paper or, more likely, he dictated it to a scribe. If this happened in 750 B.C., then he was writing of events that took place 500 years earlier, for the date of the Trojan War is generally believ ed to be around 1250 B.C. This means that The Iliad provides us with informatio n on two important ages of history - the Trojan War itself and the period of Hom eric Greece, 500 years later. To historians and archaeologists, Homer's work of fers priceless information about life in the Bronze Age, including burial custom s, tribal organization, class distinctions and warfare. Homer provides us with our first real glimpse into early Greek philosophy, religious life, and social s tructure, which were already in an advanced stage of development when he wrote. The time he is writing of, during the Trojan War, is referred to as the Mycenae an Age and it was the first truly Greek world. He is the only connecting link b etween that age and the dark centuries from 1100 to 800 B.C., of which we have l ittle information. During those times, the Greeks were overrun by the Dotfans, a rather barbaric society that managed to decimate Greek culture and destroy all efforts at early writing. Homer appeared at the end of that dark time, when th e culture was re-emerging, along with written language. His destiny was to writ e of the early Greek ancestors, that preceded the dark times, and as such he bec ame an interpreter of the Greeks for the Greeks, and for modern historians as we ll. The Iliad and The Odyssey are each about 350 pages long and it's remarkable to t hink that at one time, poets were able to memorize this much material and relate it to their audiences. Yet, that's exactly what they did. For one thing, in s ocieties where there is no writing, people's memories are superior to those of p eople living in literate societies. Even today, in some parts of eastern Europe , there are poets who can recite from memory poems of equal length to The Iliad. But the Greek poets also had certain techniques for jogging their memories. F or one thing, an epic poem consists of lines which are the same in meter, and th ere is a certain rhythm to each line that helps the poet remember his words. Th e poet would also create certain phrases and lines to express a thought that was repeated often, and these phrases were worked into a formula. The phrases and formulas were passed down from poet to poet until, over the years, it was possib le to compose an epic of great length and complexity. In the case of The Iliad, it's believed that some of the phrases date all the way back to the Trojan War itself and were passed down from generation to generation. That means parts of this remarkable poem are over 3000 years old! As the years passed, more and more

Some believe he wrote The Iliad but not The Odyssey. Still others believe he collected a lot of sagas but did no writing of hi s own. has run off with Helen. on papyrus." The great majority of scholars agree however that Homer was real. H e lived at a time when the Phoenician traders brought with them an alphabet that was being adapted into the Greek language. his works were transferred to this more durable substance. This opportunity was one that no person before Homer could have possibly had. who is a Greek. asked Paris which of them he found most beauti ful. so new copies were constantly being made. The reason that fate led Paris to Helen is also imp ortant. Paris was a guest in Menelaus' house when he fell in love with Helen. and so he simply whisked her awa y to his native city. and Aphrodite. Gr eeks prided themselves on being able to recite long passages of The Iliad and Th e Odyssey. The ancient Greek audience would have been familiar with these events. Achilles. she would reward him with wisd om and military success. as it affects later events in the poem. The most important event that has happened before the poem begins is that Paris. in the third c entury B. so there were man y different versions of Homer's works being circulated. The war lasted ten y ears and this is the story of the last of those years. As the u se of writing spread throughout Greece. but that he had help in writing his poems. Homer's influence th en reached through the Classical Age.. into the Renaissanc e. he was a poet who knew The Iliad and The Odyssey by heart and told it orally. The poem recounts only one short period of the Trojan War. They believe that the poems were written jointly b y a group of writers. Hera. He was a particular favorite of the English roma ntics who saw in Homer a type of noble savage they had idealized. Homer's critical reputation rem ained strong and he was always admired and emulated. thus increasing the store of formulas. In addition. These issues of authorship have become known in literature as "The Homer ic Question. Since scribes w ere inevitably bound to make mistakes in their lengthy copies. He was also p opular on the continent. a young Trojan. need an update. an d at one point he wrote it or had it written down by a scribe. or at least that he didn't write them alone. Every child who wa s taught to read. mos t scholars believe that Homer wrote The Iliad when he was a young man and wrote The Odyssey when he was in middle age. so did homer's poem. Throughout all these ages and lands. who was sa id to be the most beautiful woman of her times. that also involve s the main characters. Some scholars believe that Homer didn't really write his epics. Papyrus decomposed af ter a period of time. and on into the modern era. but we. and Aphrodite said that if she was the faire st of all. There were of course no printing machines in Homer's days so every copy of his p oems had to be written separately by scribes. she would reward him with love and the most beautiful woman in the wo . when parc hment was developed. of course.from these copies they produced a standard text. who used the name "Homer" as their collective pseudonym. it was fu lly developed and ready to be recorded. Finally. They were copied and recapped throughout the Middle Ages.C. Then. and others believe the oppo site. It seems that one day the godde sses Athena. There is a lot of legend or history that precedes the story and a lot that follows it. Greek authors quoted Homer the way scholars today quote the Bible or Shakespeare. the wife of Menelaus.of these phrases were retained in the collective memory of the minstrels. Or they believe Homer was a person. including Alexander the Great. was taught Homer. she woul d reward him with wealth and power. Athena said that if he found her beautiful. Goethe taught himself to read Homer in Greek when he w as only 21. By the time the epic reached Homer. and made writing possible. Hera said that if he found her most beautiful. Troy. who memorized all the passages of The Iliad that referred to his favorite hero. into the Roman Empire. a group of scholars gathered in Alexandria and examined copies of H omer's works .

All three are tragic. Menelaus. The Iliad seems to be just a gruesome. The story itself revolves around the hero Achilles. For nin e years they tried to penetrate the Trojan wall. So we have a perso nal theme. The true origins of the Trojan War were as mysterious and s hadowy to Homer and his contemporaries as they are to us today. their best warrior. unsuccessfully. who vowed to destroy both him and Troy. is doomed to twenty years of travel. a social theme. This part icular myth suggests. is an epic myth. That is why The Iliad remains a work of universal and seemingly eternal appeal. Odysseus. mediocre life." (Hellas b eing the Greek world) and he said this four centuries after Homer had written hi s masterpiece. Helen's husband. when Paris shoots an arrow into his famous vulne rable heel. They reached Troy and surrounded the city. at one end. who is the chief defender of Troy. Second. placing Achi lles. a story of Achilles. who will later be the hero in The Odyssey. on his part. who takes his mistress away from him. in the long run. The attitudes and ideals portrayed by Homer are uniquely Greek but they also hav e relevance for us today. or the forces of fate. a ruse that is quickly discover ed. and the other hero of the epic.rld. tries to avoid going by feigning insanity. That. Also playing a role in this drama is Odysseus. the mightiest of the Greek w arriors. This is of critic al importance to the story of The Iliad because throughout the battles of the Tr ojan War. and a h ero who is sulky. i s the story of the Trojan War.yet . as another result. the power of destiny. Both Odysseus and Achilles had been told their fates befor ehand: Achilles knew he was to die in Troy and Odysseus knew he wouldn't be able to return home for twenty years. inclu ding the noble Hector. Achilles is sulking. Athena and Hera will do all they can to thwart Paris' success while Ap hrodite will try to help him. As a result he was awarded with Helen and her love . through poetry. Odysseus. and a universal theme. In short. of men and Gods. First is the individual. The Iliad. and the discord and stress that results fro m man's weaknesses. of his uncontrolled anger. Achilles headed for Troy anyway. and the famous Ajax at the other. There are three basic plots or themes in The Iliad. is just the surface. Achilles does die in Troy. but this happens after the end of The Iliad. he had forever made enemies of the slig hted Athena and Hera. and his tragic destiny. of course. The days of the Trojan War and of Homer's Greece are far away from us now . His wrath and his pride are central themes in the epic and lead to tra gic results. convinced a short honorable life was preferable to a long. This is the ba ckground necessary to understand the story of The Iliad. and this of course is what makes up the s tory of The Odyssey. a symbolic attempt to explore man's psych ological make-up and his predicament in the universe. I n reality. So Homer had th e freedom and opportunity to create a myth around that war that could then explo re themes relevant to all wars and to men in general. why suc h an epic is considered so profound. with a focus on this one year. Because on the surface. the helplessness of men in relation to ex ternal powers. Plato called it "the Bible of all Hellas. bloody war story with lots of graphic death scenes. for his part . commander-in-chief of the Greek army. But unfortunately. has occasional touches of humor and iron y. at first glance. This arouses his fury and he return s to battle on a violent rampage of revenge. althoug h the universal theme. and stubborn. While he sulks. For the modern reader. his companions face disaster and his best friend since childhood is killed. called all his generals to go with him to conquer Tro y and bring back Helen. and third is the r elationship between men and the gods. Paris chose Aphrodite. Achilles withdraws from the battle after he's insulted by Agamemno n. proud. it's sometimes difficult to see. slaughtering all in his path.

If heroes failed to recognize how much their actions were ru led by the gods. and these kingdoms were made up of houses . War was an opportunity to gain this all-important glory.it was basically feudal.the opinion of their community and comrades was all that mattered. the poems were being passed along orally through the generations. They were expected to voice their own greatness but at the same time. Through excavations at the ruins of Troy. His characters are di stinct and lifelike. up until Homer's time. Some people believe that Home r was blind. It was the means to his glory and therefore to his immortality. In Ionia. Homer was born sometim e between 850 and 750 B. To the Homeric Greeks the most important quality a man could have was what they called "arete" which means excellence. there is n o indisputable evidence that Homer was indeed blind. which is valuable in contributing insight and understanding to his work. There is really only one b iographical statement that can be made about Homer with confidence: He was an Io nian. society was similar to tha t of the Middle Ages . Troy is not just a city to be defeated and looted. the Ion ian poems exalted the spirit of the individual. archaeologists now believe that the Tr ojan War occurred about the year 1250. The Greeks are a nation of storytellers and Homer is the earliest example we have of that este emed tradition. and more of the times he wrote about. to show modesty to the gods. as was also common in other areas. a nd each generation was adding and modifying them. Perhaps the essential fact about ancient Greece that plays a part in The Iliad is that the greatest value men had was that of glory. his scenes are richly described. considering personal morals . He was at the end of the tradition of oral poetry which had flourished for many centuries before him in Greece. Greece was broken up into many small kingdoms. although his writt en epics of these are all that survive of them. if any . each ruled by a king. which included suffering and death. where poetry was sung by many people. i t's a city that may grant the victor immortality. For instance. At this time. Th e only way for a man to prove his social status and his honor was on the battlef ield . poems were recited by one person. Even th ough the life of a bard might be an ideal profession for a blind man. it is the quality that bro ught him honor among his fellowmen. This is what every hero strove to achieve. Both The Iliad and The Odyssey distinguish individual characters and praise their accomplishments. from their own current point o f view. a section of Greece noted at the ti me for its sense of individuality. We know very little about the man who wrote these two remarkable poems. Homer was from Ionia. We know more of Homer's time than we do of Homer. The society and life Homer portrays is a composite of Mycenaean civilization and successive eras of Greek history.C. Th ey also accepted the pattern of heroism.there were few other arenas. probably from the island of Chios.Homer's poems easily transport us to those ancient times. And in stead of songs about communal spirit. or a power of excellence. at the end and the beginning of a long tradition of epic poetry and troubadours. they would fail and make tragic errors. He stands at the beginning of t he history of Greek literature. or the ability to excel. a very prominent history indeed. The purpose of achieving glory was to guarantee themselves immortality. Ionia was the name the Greeks applied to the islands off Asia Minor. and ther e are many more questions about him than answers. and the timeless themes of the story settle into the deepest levels of our consciousness. for the Greeks believed that death was the ultimate fact of man's reality and that the only way to transcend it was in lasting fame and honor. and to Asia Minor itself. based on certain references he made in some of his poetry. During the passing of those ages. Achieving glory was thei r primary goal and motivation.. These beliefs explain the actions of Homer' s heroes and give perspective to the war itself. Heroes were constantly in fear of disgrace and spent little time. in contrast other areas of Greece.

she h as some deeper qualities and seems to wish she could rise above her own nature. but generally he merges as the complete antithesis of the other hero. The only person superior to him was the king of his land. and the generals. he's headstrong. He's conscious of his duty and his responsibilit ies to his people. deciding he's superior to P aris. like Agam emnon.he is challenged by the indep endent Achilles. The hero of the story is Achilles. Their task was to make sure that future generations would know of the marvelous deeds of the heroes in past gener ations. were all kings. most powerful Greek city of that time . who would sometimes call the nobles into assembly to discuss important ma tters. and a man of great virtues.sufficient. HECTOR is commander of all the Trojan forces. Each house had its own land and was self. He has no hat matter. Helen is supposedly the most b eautiful woman in the world and she's also very passionate. Now he is the greatest warrior in the Greek army and a consummate Gr eek hero. was king of the largest.his pride is excessive. Agamemnon. But he has flaws too . brave and strong. the greatest of the Trojan warrior s. His mother was the goddess Thetis and his father was a man. who was the leader of the Greek forces at Tro y. Trojan. like Achil les and Odysseus. Singing minstrels developed partly so that this lasti ng glory and immortality could be guaranteed. and he's willing to sacrifice hims elf for his people. but known more for his shre wdness and guile. and the demonstration of the ir "arete" or excellence. She also admires H ector. She was mar ried to Menelaus but ran off to Troy with Paris. 3000 years after the Trojan War wa s fought. Achilles' death is frequently predi cted in The Iliad and he will be slain by Paris with an arrow shortly after the end of the poem. or anything else for t and glib and pleasure-seeking. The slaves were females who h ad been captured in conquered cities . which h ad a master. who is younger and far braver than the king. Th at is why this period of time is referred to as the Mycenaean Age. He seems less influenced by the code of honor than his fellow nobles and more interested in survival. Paris is smooth the warriors of either side. Greece's largest city.Mycenae. Paris . and servants and slaves. The householder w as the nobleman of his day. he's not admired by who think he's cowardly and lacks manliness.or estates that were called "oikos. She admires the manliness of her husband in battle." Life revolved around the household. Hector's only flaw is a tendency to over-confidence and a c oncern or his reputation. Nevertheless. PARIS is the other important g off with Helen.the men in such cities were always slaugh tered. and h is wrath is the dominant theme of the poem. ODYSSEUS is another Greek warrior. who's rather an irresponsible playboy type. and commands the Greek forces at Troy. This same hierarchy was maintained on the battlefield. immortality. a man who is half mortal and half immortal. rendering him immortal everywhere except his heel. HELEN is the only mortal woman who plays a major role in the story. were all noblemen or householders. he's a devoted family man. The warriors. the husband of Helen. the noble Trojan who is the main defender of his city. her lover. AGAMEMNON is the king of Mycenae. Their goal o n the battlefield was of course glory. Achilles. Agamemnon is irresolute and often makes foolish decisions . readers still find themselves mesmerized by Homer's arresting story of it.for today. That task was clearly successful . He is also brother of Menelaus. Thetis dipped Achil les in the River Styx when he was born. the man who started the whole war by runnin concern or guilt about this. his family.

The gods also play an important part in the story of The Iliad. To fulfill his promise. She is the p atron of Paris. Hel en. from him. the oldest and wisest of the soldiers. ATHENA is a daughter of Zeus. light. pacifies the two m en. in revenge against Paris for choosing h er sister Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess. and music. There are many other gods and many other mortals in The Iliad but these are the most prominent. After Agamemnon sends a herald to collect Achilles' girl. Achilles and Agamemnon have each been awar ded a slave girl. but when Menelaus accepts the chall enge. They f ight with javelin and sword and Menelaus wounds Paris and starts to drag him tow ards the Greek lines. he agrees to the duel. When he rece ives a scolding from his brother. fighting on the Trojan side. Hector. His duty is to carry out the will of destiny so he's officially neutral in the war. Nestor. as they do in mo st ancient Greek stories. The two armies advance on one another. She plays a prominent role fighting on the side of the Greeks. Paris steps forward and challenges any o f the Greeks to meet him in personal combat. He says he has no personal quarrel with the Trojans anyway. to enlist Zeus' aid in helping the Trojans defeat his fellow Greeks so they will realize his true worth. goddess of wisdom and war. Paris is overcome by fear and hides within the Trojan ranks. A plague descends on the camp and many men die. goddess of passionate love. and wa s fighting only to help Agamemnon and Menelaus in retrieving Menelaus' wife. In a recent raid on a town near Troy. although he actually has a sym pathy for the Trojans. who comes beggi ng for her return.is Hector's brother. When the Trojans hear about the planned assault. But Achilles feels disgraced and announces he's withdrawing his troops from the battle. APHRODITE is another daughter of Zeus. so she fights on the Trojan side. poetry. Agamemnon is furious and demands that if he must give up his girl then he must be repaid with Achilles' girl. Hector orders his troops to meet the Greeks on the p lain in front of Troy. Zeus agrees but he kno ws this will inspire the wrath of his wife Hera. But the goddess Aphrodite interferes and rescues Paris by . Now let us begin the story. He's the god of prophecy. He calls for a soothsayer who says the plague is the result of Agamemno n's refusal to return the girl to her father. Here's a brief reminder of who they are: ZEUS is the supreme god and king of Olympus.Paris offended her too in choosin g Aphrodite. Agamemnon refuses and in despair the priest prays to Apollo for revenge on the Greeks. He asks his mother. She fights fo r the Greeks for the same reason Athena does . It is unjust to take his war prize. Zeus sends a false dream of hope to Agamemnon who become s convinced he can defeat the Trojans in the next battle. a goddess. APOLLO is a son of Zeus. Th is enrages Achilles who considers stabbing Agamemnon but is restrained by the go ddess Athena. The terms are that the winner is awarded Melen and a treaty of peace will end the war. Agamemnon's girl is the daughter of a priest. He resolves to fight no more. weeping over his disgrace. Achilles wanders by th e seashore. HERA is the wife and sister of Zeus. On the tenth day of the plague Achilles goes over Agamemnon's head and assembles th e army. who hates the Trojans. the slave girl. the goddess of married love. for Achilles is their strongest warrior.

fall into line. now enters the battle. Hector. Ajax and Hector engage in a ferocious duel in which neither can overcom e the other. some of the Trojans appeal to Paris to return Helen and end the war. whom Athena has inspired with exceptiona l courage and skill. who is Aphrodite's lover. when Athena a sks to be allowed to advise the Greeks. cheering and fighting bravely on. The Trojans are victorious that day and the Greek commanders flee. Then he seeks his brother Paris. The Trojans pursue them. Ares has a strong and brutal influe nce and soon the Greeks withdraw to camp. ready to take u p battle in the morning. since she wants to see Tr oy completely destroyed. She gives him sight so he can distinguish the men on the f ield from the gods. But Diomedes leaps to his feet and rallies the troops with a fiery speech ab out their heroic heritage and says it is fated that Troy will fall.she returns to Olympus crying and Zeus warns her to stay of f the battlefield in the future. They arm themselves. The injury to Agamemnon isn't serious but the Gre eks are appalled by this violation of the truce. In Troy. Hera and Athena prepare to intervene on behalf of the Greeks but Zeus notices their approach and sends them back to Olympus. Then Hector visits his wife and baby son. Then Athena and Hera return to Olympus too. On Olympus. Zeus supports Agamemnon's claim and declares the war should be over. proclaiming the war lost and suggesting they return hom e. The clash between the two armies is viol ent and large numbers of men on both sides are killed. The outstanding warrior this day is the Greek soldier Diomedes. Agamemnon declares Menelaus has won the battle and demands that Helen be returned to the Greeks. Zeus tells the gods he is about to end the Trojan War and any interference on their parts won't be tolerated. he gives her permission. l eaving only mortals on the battlefield at Troy. In Troy.she carries him to his bedroom and brings Helen to j oin him. Ida. and prepare for another battle. He then admits th at in his heart he knows Troy will fall. Then Nestor . But Hector has a fierce reputation and no Greek offers to meet him. His wife begs him not to endan ger himself any longer but Hector speaks of his duty to Troy. Athena inspires a Trojan solider to shoot an arrow at Agamemnon. Nestor gives a stirring speech that finally inspires nine warriors to volunteer and after the drawing of lots. He worries about what will happen to h is wife and child after he's dead but knows he cannot change the will of the god s. with Rector at their lead. But when the goddess Aphrodite protects a Trojan solider. He rebukes him and Paris agrees he has disgraced himself and must join the f ight. Athena and Ap ollo decide there must be a duel between two opposing warriors so they send this information to Hector. assuring him it will bring him lasting fame. Hector agrees with the women that a sacrifice must be made in Ath ena's temple. Even King Agam emnon bursts into tears. wounding the god Ares and se nding him flying back to Olympus. D iomedes wounds her .concealing him in a mist . They give fresh strength to t he wounded Diomedes and he storms back into battle. P aris refuses. it is decided that Ajax shall meet Hector. On Olympus. Ares. helping the Trojan leader. The Greeks charge on . Now Hera and Athena fly to the aid of the Greeks. However. Hector and Paris rejoin the Trojan forces and the battle resumes. He gives in and sends the goddess Athena down to arran ge a continuation of the fighting. whom he finds lounging with Hele n. But his wife Hera convinces him to continue the war.there is much slaughter and the Trojans begin a full retr eat. The Trojans drive the Greeks back behi nd their fortifications and then camp in the open for the night. The Greeks are completely demoralized. A temporary truce is called. The armies clash again the next morning while Zeus watches from nearby Mt.

The Trojans want to stay in the safety of the city but Hector insists they fight on the open grou nd. Patroclus implores Achilles to let him wear his-armor and go into battle. is responsible for it. In Olympus Hera sees that the sea god Poseidon is trying to help the Greeks. if that fails. Thetis. When Achilles hears of Patroclus' death. The Tro jans regain the ground they lost and inflict many casualties on the Greeks. But Odysseus says this plan is dishonorable and th e only choice is to go among the ranks and try to encourage the men. Diomedes says it was a mistake to try to appeal to someone as conceited and stubborn as Achilles. There is rejoicing among the Greeks and Diomedes and Odysseus become the h eroes of the day. N othing can erase the public insult Agamemnon has caused him. He warns Patroclus to do no more than rescue the ships for if he attacks Troy. but then Agamemnon and most of the leaders are wounded and forced to withdraw from battle. On their way they discover a Trojan spy and from him they gain information about Hector's location and plans. and they all agree to do their best to protect their ships from the Trojans the next morning . To give him the opportunity to do this she seduces her husband. Achilles' men des troy the Trojan advantage and Hector leads his men back to Troy. the Greeks rescue Patroclus' body and return it to camp.tells Agamemnon that it's the absence of Achilles that is causing their defeat and that he Agamemnon. Zeus. With his dying breath. they are panicked. ignoring the bad omen o f an eagle that flies overhead. his squire and dear childhoo d friend to get details of the battles. He sends Patroclus. When the Trojans see Achilles' forces ap proaching. " Hector then dons Achilles' armor and after a fierce battle. he is filled with sorrow. convinced of defe at. manages to break through the Greek wall. he consents. and afterwar ds he falls into a deep sleep. He for ces the gates open with a large stone and the Greeks retreat in panic as the Tro jans charge in. They kill the sp y. The Trojans continue their violent onslaught and Hector. He selects Odysseus to accompany him. attack the new troops. horses. Agamemnon. Achilles announces to the Greeks that his quarrel with Agamemnon is over and he is ready for battle. A Trojan soldier then pierces him with his javelin. he may be killed. and see his armor at the front. but Achilles rejects them. and Hector finishes him with a spear in the belly. Achilles' mother. Diomedes offers to slip into the Trojan camp and see if he can learn their pl ans. has a glorious new suit of armor made for him by the god of blacksmiths. knocking off his armor. that he don Ac hilles' armor and join the battle himself. Zeus. When Achilles sees the flames of the Greek ships and knows the Trojans have another v ictory. now relaxes and turns his attention to other matters. Patr oclus says it was not Hector who destroyed him but the gods and "deadly destiny. Patroclus goes to Nestor who suggests h e try to convince Achilles to join the battle and. The King agrees to send gifts to Achilles too. wants to retreat by sea. slaughtering nine Trojans in only o ne charge. The next morning the Greeks drive the Trojans back at first. When this message is given to Agamemnon. He knows his death at Troy has been foretold. They also learn of a new contingent of troops that is unprotected. but feels no . he's beside himself with grief. Apollo decides to help the Trojans and strikes Patroclus from the ba ck. and return to camp with chariots. He let s out a war cry that terrorizes the Trojans and they retreat. Patroclus pursues them to the walls of Troy. and other bo oty. Ach illes watches these developments with alarm and begins to grow frustrated at his own self-imposed uselessness. saying he can't be bought and sold. since just the sight of the famous ar mor might frighten the Trojans into retreat. having brought the Trojans as far as the Greek ships.

over their own sorrows.thing can prevent him from avenging the death of his friend Patroclus. Th e Iliad comes to an end. All during this time. Hector's wife collapses. Hera. which operates in a very brutal way in the story. take on their own battles. Meanwhile. More o . and Hephaestus fly to the side of the Greeks while Ares. He invites P riam to stay for dinner and both men weep together. and Aphrodite fly to the side of the Trojans. Achilles takes the as hes of Patroclus to be buried along side his own body. killing all the me n and taking the women as slaves. Odysseus is granted Achilles' armor. agrees to return the body. He appeals soulfully to Achilles who. After the funeral. Hermes. Hector stands outside. Achilles sweeps through the field in a rage. And with this banquet. All the people of Troy come to mourn Hector. Hector throws his spear and hits his mark. As you know. Zeus decides the body of Hector sh ould be returned to its people. The battle opens with much fury. Zeus gives the gods permission to assist on either side. There are many themes and messages in The Iliad and hundreds of scholars have wr itten thousands of pages and spent innumerable hours discussing them. excited by human warfare. Afterward there is a great funeral banquet. As the Trojan dies he begs that his body be returned to his family for a proper funeral. aided by the gods. Apollo. there is legend that follows the end of The Iliad. They build a magnificent funeral p yre and then they place his bones in a golden chest. Paris is later killed. which is buried in a shallo w grave. touched b y memories of his own home and parents. Immediatel y. He fastens the corpse to his chariot and drags it along the ground in disgrace. Within the walls of Troy the citizens watch and m oan and lament their hero's piteous fate. load it with valuables. The gods fighting for th e Greeks prevent the river god from attacking Achilles with waves and currents. then overcome with remorse. and then light a flame. Finally At hena tricks Hector . Athena. preparing to meet Achilles one-to-one. Yet when Achilles approaches. The Gree ks gallop into battle. Back at camp. Hector's bod y lies on the ground unattended but Apollo and Aphrodite protect it from decay a nd from the ravages of predators. comes to claim it. some for the city. Achilles continues to drive Trojans from the field and most of them take refuge in the city. Achilles leads the Greek warriors in a dirge for his dead friend P atroclus. Hector's father Priam. Achi lles pursues him and they run around the city walls three times. Ajax is furi ous over this because he wanted it and threatens to kill the Greek leaders. but it can't penet rate the divine armor. the Greeks enter T roy in a massive wooden horse and destroy the city with fire. Achilles cats his spear and misses but Athena r eturns it to him. One of th ose themes is justice. Achilles is kil led by an arrow shot by Paris. so me for the river. Hera drives Artemis from the field. while Hector tr ies to draw Achilles within range of the Trojan archers on the wall. Nine days pass and on each day Achilles ties Hector's body to his chariot and dr ags it around the funeral pyre of Patroclus. The Trojan troops flee in panic. Then the gods.she tells him he will have help against Achilles. Artemis. They build a large funeral pyre. kills himself. sacrifice tw elve captive Trojans. there are ceremonial games in honor of Patroclus. Athena def eats Ares and Aphrodite. the king of Troy. Achilles follows the troops to the river and so violent is hi s slaughter that the river overflows with dead bodies. The goddesses Hera and Athena finally have th eir revenge. Afterwards. Finally Achilles lunges his spear into Hector's throat. Poseidon. Achilles refuses. for Achilles must be prevented from exceeding the bounds of victory set by fate. kill ing every Trojan he can. So he st ops running and faces Achilles. Hector is overcome with fear and tries to flee.

and although it is brutal and tragic. subservient to the will of Zeus. and pride. He knows that honor. as men se e it. compassion. which manifested mostly as wrath. In this atmosphere of constant and inevitable d eath. more specifically. is not as important as the real values of life. as portrayed through the gods.man himself or the gods and fate . there are also issues of personal respon sibility and men must make decisions in which they weigh their passions against their reason. which is rightfully his. for Achilles. was the sour ce of much suffering on the part of his fellow warriors. have woven sorrow into the very pattern of our lives. Be has in effect become human again . and must face that tragic fate with courage and honor. knowing he is doomed to die. Because he refused to join their battle. Paris and Helen's passion was the initial cause of the war. Agamemnon too allows his passion to get the better of him. fury. At the beginning of the story that way. which in ancient Greece. the y suffer and die. he has undergone an important transform ation. although the god s will show a passing interest if one of their favorites is in danger. out of pride. and revenge that are almost inhuman. The failure of reason and the l ack of control over human passion is shown to be the chief cause of discord and tragedy. Nowhere are men so confronted with the idea of death than they are on a battlefield. But by the end it is humility and understanding. But these emotions are all brought on from a state of anguish. This question of who and what was responsible for man's destiny . They m ust find a way to live life so that life is something more than a thing that end s in death. represented of course by the gods.he has demonstrated humility. therefore he gives up Hect or's body. they endured many losses and fatalities. was the only thing t hat mattered. The basic be lief of the ancient Greeks was that man was in the grip of forces far stronger t han he. since his rage against Achilles is what leads the warrior to his withdrawal from the battle. If man behaves irrationally. irrational things will happen to him. and was at the whim of those forces. glo ry. men like Achilles learn to value life and to search for meaning. At the same time. Achilles is a hero because he emerges from this struggle a better man. Fate.was the most fundamental question to the Greeks." He has developed a genuinely tragic visio n of life and has grown into a full tragic hero." . He's been deprived of his honor. Although Achilles meets his noble demise shortly after the end of The Iliad. and ultimately destroyed by powers beyond their control. Achilles' passion.ften than not. it gives men the opportunity to le arn from their suffering. known as "The Odyssey. War. Achilles has learned and grown throug h the testing ground that is war. is indifferent to human tragedy. when he is moved by the poignant plea's of Hector's father to return his son's b ody. and acceptance of his own preordained death. He first goes through stages of pride. is a proving ground for th e soul. in The Iliad. and a recognition of the forces greater than he is. One purpose of The Iliad is to show that the importance of man's life is in his very struggle itself. The men in The Iliad have far more dignity than the Gods. He comments: "Men a re wretched things and the gods. or. even though at the beginning of the story he was loathe to give up even a slave girl. comp assion. In our next session we'll learn of the many adventures and lessons that await this brave warrior on his famous journey homeward. men find themselves confused. The oracles have already told him that he will not return home for twenty years after the victory in Troy. and that i s Ulysseus. Na ture and the gods join in to enforce this irrationality and then tragedy results . who have no cares themselves. and when he does give up that body. the re is another hero who has yet to play out his destiny with the gods. But when he finally charges into battle. was fame. and then he's lost his best friend because of his own irrational b ehavior. simply because as mortals. deceived.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful