The Rousing of Achilles:
I really like how both sides of the battle are well fleshed out. It’s not just good vs. bad; there’s actual complicated conflict.
I sympathize with Hector because he seems like a good man who loves his family, and he is a good prince who fights with his people.
I also sympathize with Achilles because he was stuck helping Agamemnon, and he just lost his best friend.
Hector putting on Achilles’s armor after killing Patroclus is the ultimate disrespect.
What makes the immortal horses so important? It’s interesting that they’ve been anthropomorphized and given human emotions.
Revenge as character motivation; Achilles’s only reason to fight is to avenge Patroclus.
“…for the gods give victory now to one man and now to another.” The fickleness of the interfering gods seems to be a major theme of this epic. It makes Hector angry and fearful for his safety, and ultimately it leads to his death.
The Slaying of Hector:
Achilles has god-forged armor. Often heroes have special items that give them an advantage.
The gods vs. men conflict is very strong as Achilles confronts Apollo about his meddling.
“And his armour shone upon him as bright as Orion, which men call also the Dog, shines in the autumn, when the vintage is gathered, an evil light, bringing fevers to men.” –A long but very cool, tone-setting sentence. Achilles is definitely a very imposing warrior in this scene.
Both Patroclus and Hector died because gods sabotaged their battles.
I feel really bad for Andromache and Hector’s son, especially since Hector’s body is disgraced so severely by Achilles.
The Ransoming of Hector:
Greek God: Hermes (Wikipedia)
Once again, actively interfering in human affairs.
Uses shapeshifting to help guide Priam to Achilles
The importance of a proper burial is an interesting aspect of the end of this story. It definitely illustrates how myths often portray cultural values of their tellers.
This seems like a strange place to end an epic story. The war with Troy is unresolved, and so is Achilles’s arc. Why did Homer decide to end here?
The Illiad retold by Alfred J. Church (1907). Web source.
Image: Triumph of Achilles from the Achilleion in Corfu, Greece. By Franz Matsch. Source – Wikipedia