The poet prays to the muse. (Like a prophet) He wants to know about Achilles’s rage We start with the fight between Achilles and Agamemnon. Confused yet? Don't worry. You're supposed to be.
Agamemnon- the most powerful King of the Achaeans Achilles- his best warrior Chryses, the priest of Apollo, approaches the Achaean camp to ask for his daughter His daughter is held by Agamemnon. He wants her as his personal possession.
Other Achaeans say, “let her go”! But Agamemnon says, “no way Jose”! Thing is, being a priest of Apollo, Chryses has another trick up his sleeve – that is, er, robe… He prays to the god to punish the Achaeans. Apollo comes and saves the day… Well sort of!
The plague rages for nine days. Achilles gets angry. Very angry. Calls a truce on the tenth day. He asks for a soothsayer, Kalchas. (Or fortune teller) Says Agamemnon must give Chryseis back. Agamemnon says yes, only if he gets something in return! (Wow, great guy)
Achilles says, "Tough luck.” So Agamemnon says “No way then.” Achilles gets furious…. (here comes the raaaaagggeee.) Agamemnon now asks for Achilles’s girl, Briseis. Achilles snaps! Now we get involvement from Athena and Nestor, plus some anger and frustration from Achilles.
Achilles says he will give up Briseis, but if anyone touches any of his other things… IT’S CURTAINS! Achilles goes back to his men and Patroclus.
Nestor- the resident old timer in the army and sort of like a prophet, makes a long rambling speech. Having established his street-cred, he tells Agamemnon, “don’t take Briseis” and tells Achilles, “don’t stand up to the king.” Great, so nothings settled…
Achilles gives her up. He sits at the shore, with his mom Thetis, crying. He tells her what happened. Thetis explains his prophecy, that will set off a chain of events. She will talk to Zeus, after the god’s come back from their 12 day party with the Aethiopians.
In the meantime… Agamemnon sends Chryseis off on a ship. Odysseus is in charge. 12 days later the gods are back and Thetis goes to see them. Thetis asks for Zeus’s help. Once Thetis leaves, Hera starts nagging him. (What a couple). Once things are settled, the gods have a feast. They make fun of Hephaistos.
Achilles is mad and races back to Troy, over the death of Patroclus. Priam and all of Troy see him coming. Hector stays outside the walls awaiting Achilles. He thinks of ways to reason with Achilles. “Maybe I’ll give him free pickings from our treasures.” Achilles arrives. Hector’s nerves fail him. He turns pale and runs.
When and how characters eat is extremely important to the symbolic texture of the Iliad. It becomes extremely important when, after Patroclos's death, Achilles refuses to eat breakfast with the other warriors, but instead wants to get to the battle as quickly as possible. ▪ His possible alienation ▪ Acting in solidarity
The symbolism of eating remains prominent during Achilles's murderous rampage against the Trojans. He tells Hector that he wishes he were angry enough to "hack [his] meat away and eat it raw," this symbolizes his loss of humanity. (Cannibalism is generally considered anti-social.) When Achilles rejoins humanity through his connection with Priam, this moment is emphasized by the meal they share together.
Hector and Achilles run three times around the walls of Troy. “You can’t catch me.” Gods try to decide what to do. ▪ (Let Hector live or die as is his fate)
But Athena explodes on him, saying, "What are you talking about? No way! This is his fate. You can't let him out of it.“ "Relax, I was only kidding," Zeus says. "Do whatever you want.“ Meanwhile, both warriors continue to run around the walls. (Is this some sick joke? Is it a nightmare?)
The fourth time around, however, Zeus lifts up the golden scales of fate, just as he did with his son Sarpedon back in Book 16. He puts each warrior's fate in the scales. Hector's heavier fate sinks down towards the underworld. Sarpedon became one of the greatest allies of the Trojan army. But fell victim to Patroclus in a battle on the beach by the Greek encampment.
Then we have Athena interrupt the chase. She turns into one of Hector’s brothers. Hector offers Achilles a pact, but Achilles refuses saying: ▪ "No pacts are made between humans and lions.” ▪ The Battle Begins!
Athena appears beside Achilles and tells him that he's about to be victorious. Then Achilles throws his spear – but Hector ducks it. Hector thinks he's sitting pretty. The only problem is, Athena grabs Achilles's spear and gives it back to him without Hector noticing.
We have spear throwing. Charging with swords drawn. Hector realizes he’s been tricked. And that he is doomed. All the same, he resolves to go down fighting.
Hector charges at Achilles with his sword, but Achilles stabs him in the neck with his spear – narrowly missing his windpipe. This means that, even though he is mortally wounded, Hector is still able to speak. Why is this important? Hector again asks Achilles to spare his body from the dogs.
Dying, Achilles refuses. Wishes he was angry enough to hack off Hector's flesh and eat it raw. Hector says that he recognizes Achilles won't be won over. But then he predicts that, some day soon, Apollo and Paris will kill him outside the Skaian Gates. What literary device is this? Hector dies and Achilles taunts him. Achaeans stab his body.
Achilles does something outrageous: pierces the tendons at back of Hector's feet and threads rawhide cords through the holes. Attaches these cords to the back of his chariot, and starts dragging Hector's dead body over the plain. Hector's father, Priam, has to be forcibly restrained from running out of the walls and begging Achilles to give his son back.
Everyone in Troy is terrified and saddened. Hector’s wife, Andromache, hears the news and sees Achilles dragging his body outside. She predicts a grim future for their son without a dad.
Although the Iliad tells a profound and dramatic story, it is also a poem. What does the Iliad gain as a result of being told in poetic form? How would it be different if it were recast in prose/literature? How would you have altered this scene?