22 thoughts on “Iliad, 273-283 and 299-309

  1. The lines 325-327 “I hear the gods calling me to my death. I thought I had a good man here with me. Deiphobus, but he’s still on the wall.” Said by Hector moments before he died by the hands of Achilles. Just that first sentence alone when he realized that it was all set up by Athena. Explains everything since he thought Deiphobus was still there with when in fact it was just Goddess Athena or the Goddess of wisdom tricking him to come out since he was being persuaded by all his family to stay behind the wall since no one wanted to see him get killed. The “good man” usage here was about someone he thought as a brother so what it took was Athena saying the way I would get him out fighting Achilles is if I have him think that someone who he thinks is his brother (which line 260 confirms, “Deiphobus, you’ve always been my favorite brother…” is walking out with him to fight Achilles a godlike warrior and this was just moments after hector taunted Achilles for missing the javelin throw.

    1. I agree deception is a very important part of any battle. However, what particularly alarmed me about this situation was the fact that how people react when they are in a position of power. When Achilles’ spear arm missed Hector, he realized he was in a position of power and started dominating by insulting Achilles, “Ha! You missed! It looks like you didn’t have my number after all…” (306). He completely forgot he was almost begging for mercy and running away moments ago. Similarly, when Hector killed Patroclus he showed his arrogance by saying, “So, Patroclus, you thought you could ransack my city and ship our women back to Greece to be your slaves. you little fool. They are defended by me” (871). This highlights arrogance is subject to the position of power. If presented a chance, every soldier has the tendency to show arrogance and ruthlessness.

    2. I agree with Haq on how soldiers like Achilles and Hector often becomes arrogant as they are winning the battle despite the fact that they are both in a position where they are almost put to death by the others. For example in line 311-312, Hector says “Did you think I’d run and you’d plant a spear in my back? It’ll take a direct hit in my check Coming right at you” Just few moments Hector is running til death to escape from Achilles, but now Hector is asking him if Achilles think he would run as he would ever do that. It is interesting to see how quick Soldiers emotions change as the battle goes.

    3. Indeed. I want to add to this. Did you notice how quickly Hector’s composure changed after his realization. He said “I hear the gods calling me to my death” even a glowing hero such as Hector seemed to sink into despair at the thought that the god’s intervention was to ensure that he would be the one to fall in battle. However, I had recently been persuaded to abandon the narrative of gods deciding the fate of men.
      The entire story can be told without the gods at all. The narrator could be unreliable and tell the story in a way that isn’t necessarily accurate. The raining blood that Zeus called down on the greeks could have been the bloodshed of the battle around them with the spurts from cuts coming from fellow men and landing on them like droplets of rain, the thunder could have been the thunderous sound of siege weaponry, even here when Hector saw his end could have just been an illusion. Something his mind conjured up as he searched for a path of retribution for causing the death of so many of his men after his hotheaded decision. He was going through the stages of grief as he made his “brave” decision to face Achilles. He considered trying to reason with a raging beast (bargaining) and when he thought to himself “I hear the gods calling me to my death” he was accepting his “destiny” (acceptance). His charge was not a heroic last act to defeat Achilles. It was a suicide.

  2. The soldiers reveal their fear of having their bodies dishonored if they die during battle. When Hector faces Achilles, he tells him that he will honor his body and hopes he will do the same for him; Achilles boldly rejects the request. Achilles stabs Hector and assures him that his corpse will be dishonored: “And now I have laid you out on the ground./ Dogs and birds are going to draw out your guts/ While the Greeks give Patroclus burial,”(371-373) Achilles sees Hector as a prize, and since he fought to earn this prize he decides what to do with it. He shows how he has no mercy towards the Trojans, even at their last moment. He feels superior to them, especially with how he intends to use Hector, a sacred leader for the Trojans, as food for animals. Without proper burial, Hector’s efforts are forgotten. His injured body is kept from his mourning family. Achilles leaves Hector with an image of the Greeks more well off than the Trojans by stating Patroclus will receive a dignified burial.

    1. I agree that Achilles sees Hector as a prize since Hector himself was one of Troy’s greatest warriors. But I also think that Achilles also saw Hector’s body as a way of avenging his friend, Patroclus. When Achilles finally catches up to Hector he says to him “You fool. His avenger was far greater—/And far closer—than you could imagine,/Biding his time back in our beachhead camp.”(368-370). According to what Achilles said, it seems like he had been plotting to get revenge for Patroclus for a while. But killing him is not enough as revenge and so he also plans to have his dead body defiled like Patroclus instead of letting him have a proper funeral. Since Achilles is so keen on getting revenge for Patroclus, it seems like Patroclus is the whole reason he returned to the battlefield even though he had left it when he had an argument with Agamemnon.

    2. The ruthlessness of Achilles stems from the hunger for revenge. It is worth noting that Hector practiced the same brutality while murdering countless Greeks including Patroclus. In fact, Patroclus was subject to a very similar fate. As Achilles mentions, “Patroclus’ body still lies by the ships, unmourned, unburried”. Therefore, as a way to avenge his friend’s fate, Achilles resorted to such extreme measures. From what I perceived, every soldier in the Greek-Trojan war would have practiced similar atrocities if presented with a chance.

    3. I found that this part of the story really emphasizes the constant theme of emotion clouding reasoning. Achilles, a man who values honor so highly, rejects Hector his honorable end saying in lines 384-385″Cut off your flesh in strips and eat it raw for what you’ve done to me.” Achilles’ anger and desire for revenge overwhelms his better judgment and makes him simply forgo his past moral code.

    4. This part best shows the “rage” of Achilles. Unlike the start of the story, any anger Achilles showed was justified as there was a opposing force to cause it. Here Achilles as the greatest warrior of Greece, would not show the same respect to Hector. This “dirty” side of him almost brings him down to the same level as agamenmonn. It does not matter that Hector had killed Achilles friend, but it shows that even someone like him can lose sight of whats right. Either Achilles did not care about the war anymore, or he was fighting a different one, not for Troy but for himself. Knowing that he was destined to die, it would bring great content to know that he killed Hector, Troy’s best warrior.

    5. I agree with you and i think it shows Achilles’ character as a whole. After killing Hector, Achilles wouldn’t honor Hector’s last request,to be sent back to his own homeland to be buried,”i beg you, Achilles, by your own soul and by your parents, do not allow the dogs to mutilate my body by the Greek ships” (375-378). In a way, Homer actually depicts Achilles as a heartless, and merciless brute who would not honor his enemy in his last breath. It is also the first time that we see the “rage” that Achilles has been holding within himself explode in the form of defiling Hector’s corpse.

    6. I agree with you that the body become a important spiritual symbol for the two country. When Patroclus died he want his friend Glaucus to run. However, when Glaucus get away he want the Trojans to fight for Patroclus corpse, because he don’t want Greeks to hang Patroclus’s corpse by the ship. In this that we can analyze that the Greeks and Trojans see the body also as dignity of the man, even thought he died they also want to protect his dignity. They see the dignity beyond their life.

  3. “Brag while you can, Hector”. Zeus and Apollo have given you an easy victory this time. If they hadn’t knocked off my armor, I could have made mincemeat of twenty like you. Of men, Euphorbus, you came in third at best. And one more thing for you to think over, you’re not going to live long. I see Death standing on your shoulder and you are going down”. This is a very powerful quote to me as it shows that even when Patroclus, a proud Greek, was at a disadvantage and at Hector mercy, he refused to give Hector recognition/credit for his victory. Instead, Pectroclus continued to ostracize Hector by saying that it was luck and the gods favoring him. With his last dying breath Pectroclus continued to discredit Hector as a commander. I think that this mindset is common in many people. Even when we know we have been defeated, it’s very hard for one to humble themselves and commend the victor. Instead, many of us choose to continue to insult even in our defeat. This may be seen as a some kind of defense mechanism or maybe we are just full of ourselves

  4. Among various themes, I believe the texts depict how individual psychology works in a battlefield. It is extremely important to remain motivated and the texts highlight that revenge is often the biggest motivation factor behind comrades’ success. People usually respond when a tragedy occurs which is partly because they start understanding the gravity of the situation at hand. This is evident when Sarpedon, on the verge of dying, motivates his comrades, “Strip my body bare beside their ships. Be strong and keep the others going” (533). Sarpedon’s death invokes a strong emotional reaction and lifts the Trojan to fight. Similarly, we can also see how Achilles’ driving motivation behind killing Hector was to avenge the death of his friend, Patroclus. As Achilles mentions, “So you thought you could get away with it didn’t you? Killing Patroclus and ripping off his armor, my armor” (367). This reiterates the claim that revenge in a battlefield is the driving factor behind the motivation levels. Perhaps, the hunger for revenge outstrips the hunger for glory.

    1. I agree with you in that the battles that happen in this text is motivated by revenge, the war even started because the Greeks wanted revenge on Paris. From reading the various books in The Illiad, I noticed the multiple times the word, “bronze” was used. I think the various metals of bronze, silver and gold, signifies the level of power a person has. Bronze was used a lot when the story referred to human, assuming that they have the lowest amount of power. Some indications that bronze is used to represent mortals are when Sarpedon sees Patroclus and he, “…stepped down from chariot in his bronze”(463) and the line, “Human heroes hacking at each other with bronze”(781). Even Achilles’ and Hectors’ armors and weapons are made out of bronze. Silver, I believe is used to represent mid-level power, while gold represents the highest authority. In book 1, Apollo uses his “…silver bow hung in the air”(56) to release a plague on the Greeks, also Thetis is mention as being, “silver-footed”(607). Apollo and Thetis, being gods, have a supremacy over mortals; however the reason they aren’t cited with gold is because there is a high authority above them.The highest level of power is Zeus, the King of the Gods and is represented with gold, “Father Zeus stretched out his golden scales…”(245).

    2. I agree that vengeneance plays a huge role in the battlefield. Whether it is finding the motivation to fight harder or trying to convince the enemy to back down, revenge played a huge role on what one’s next move would be. On line 398, after Hector fails to convince Achilles to honor his body after his death, he lets Achilles know that he will seek revenge. “And I will have my vengeance on that day when Paris and Apollo destroy you”, is what he states even though Hector himself is the reason why Achilles is so enraged. Had Hector not liked Patroclus, Achilles would have not sought to seek revenge. And Hector on the other hand, despite being fully aware that he had no chance against Achilles, still chose to dedicate his last words to let Achilles know that his Achilles’ will be similar to his.

    3. I would go further with that. The psychology is not just on the battlefield. It’s also in the sky. The Gods are all contemplating if they should do the right thing, or meddle in mortals’ lives since they have personal relationships with them. Zeus says that he loves Sarpedon “more than any man” and wonders if he should “take him out of battle while he still lives” (Line 471). Hera, of course, tritely demands that Zeus stay neutral or else a domino effect would happen with all of the Gods interfering with the mortal world. The psychology shows that the Gods really aren’t better than mere humans; they deal with their own biases and dilemmas themselves.

    4. I think the comment on the hunger of Glory shows the depth of what it may be the initial reason of the battles. The pride and, thus victory leads to the emotion factor taking place into this conflict. Hectors death shows the remains of lust that are in the battlefield can be exemplary and contagious for anyone near. Line 405, the quote that gives more substance into what Achilles is feeling during the moment. The message he gives to the people after shows what they were fighting for all this time was for power, prestige and how the takeover turns into literal flames.

  5. Hector is refusing to run away from Achilles who is running towards him. Priam and Hecuba fear for their son’s life and try to persuade him to run and hide. Priam describes his own gruesome death to Hector hoping that Hector would take pity on his own father and flee.
    “And the dogs that I fed at my table,/My watchdogs, will drag me outside and eat/My flesh raw,”(77-79).
    Many of us have heard of dogs being “man’s best friend.” However Priam is insinuating that even a man’s best friend would betray them when the situation is beneficial for them. This reminds my of how Paris betrayed Menelaus even though they were supposed to be best friends. Menelaus invited his friend, Paris, to his home and also fed him at his table. Unfortunately, just like the dog described above, Paris betrays Menelaus without remorse tearing their friendship apart.

  6. I’ll agree with many of the posts before me that this shows a truly enraged side of Achilles. He is consumed in his anger and it leads him to perform gruesome actions as well as say malicious things to Hector as he is on his last dying words. What really resonated with me was when Achilles said “Die and be done with it. As for my fate, I’ll accept whenever Zeus sends it.” (405-406). This shows that Achilles was solely aiming to murder Hector and that was the only thing in his mind. At the same time, the lines “I’ll accept whenever Zeus sends it” shows that he acknowledges the wrongful action that he committed but he did so anyways. This is similar to previous texts where characters commit actions that they aren’t supposed to, but proceed to follow through with it regardless.

    1. I agree that the Achilles knew all along that his action is not right but he will do the same regardless for his friend, Patroclus and other people who are sacrificed during the battle. To me Achilles is courageous that he does not fear what kind of punishments he will get from Zeus and commit his action to avenge for his people.

  7. I agree with most of the posts above regarding deception, psychology and seeing other side of Achilles. Deception plays a very important role during both of the battles. First when Apollo came to Hector in guise of his uncle saying “Get in that chariot and go after Patroclus. Who knows? Apollo may give you the glory.” (755-756) He literally persuades Hector to go after Patroclus and plays a vital part in Patroclus’s death. Similarly, when Achilles is after Hector, once again Hector is confronted by the image of Deiphobus who is only Athena in disguise persuades Hector to stand and fight instead of running. This time deception isn’t in his favor and cost him his life by Achilles. I hated the fact that how cold hearted Achilles was towards Hector to whom he wouldn’t even grant the dead body to be sent back home. He says “Not even if they bring ten or twenty Ransoms, pile them up here and promise more, not even if Dardanian Priam weighs your body out in gold, not even then will your mother ever get to mourn you laid out on a bier. No, dogs and birds will eat every last scrap.” (388-393) He sounds completely heartless and it makes him just as egoistic as Agamemnon who once refused Chryses ransom for his daughter Chryseis. As far as psychology goes, I think it plays a role in sky both times during the battle, first for Sarpedon and then for Hector. Zeus questions both times if he should save them or let them die and both times he is told not to expect other gods to approve.

  8. Achilles and Hector are running and chasing after each around three times the city. As both are exhausted from the endless chase, the goddess Athena turned herself into Deiphobus, Hector’s brother and encourages him to fight Achilles. Achilles finally kills Hector in the end. Hector begs Achilles after seconds before his last breath to honor his body in line 375, “ I beg you, Achilles, do not allow the dogs to mutilate my body by the Greek Ships. Accept the gold and bronze ransom..and send my back home.” Hector is afraid of his body to be dishonored by being eaten by dogs and birds. It is interesting to see soldiers are afraid for their body to be dishonored during their battle. Achilles refused to honor Hector’s body in line 384-385, “You dog! I wish my stomach would let me cut off your flesh in strips and eat it raw for what you’ve done to me.” Achilles is outrageous about the fact that Hector killed so many lives of his people and especially his friend Patroclus. After what Hector did to his people around him, Achilles of course, will not accept Hector’s favor. Also, it seems like since Achilles has lost his prize, Briseis before in the earlier readings, he did not want to give up on dishonoring Hector both as a prize for winning the battle and as a revenge for his friend, Patroclus.

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