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© David Claudon, 2001.

 

Part Four: Books 19-24



In The Iliad's climax, Priam comes to Achilles to beg for Hector's body.
Painted by David Claudon, based on an Athenian cup by the Brygos Painter, ca 490-480 BCE,
from Greece and the Hellenistic World by John Boardman, Jasper Griffin & Oswyn Murray, p 53.

Book 19: The Champion Arms for Battle

Overview

Thetis brings Achilles the armor and agrees to protect Patroclus' body from decay. Achilles calls all the troops together and urges them to fight. Agamemnon gives Achilles what had been promised him, including Briseis. Finally armed and ready, Achilles gets his chariot and stands ready for battle.

 

Now, by god, I call a halt to all my anger--
it's wrong to keep on raging, heart inflamed forever.

New Characters and Names Introduced

  • Ruin

Thought Questions:

  • How does Homer convey the depth of Achilles' feelings for Patroclus?
  • The Greeks who knew the story of the Trojan war would know that the according to tradition, the war could not have been won until Achilles' son Neoptolemus came to help. What view of him do we get in Achilles speech [lines 387-401]

Quiz on the Book:

  1. How does Thetis protect Patroclus' body?
  2. What excuse does Agamemnon give for the troubles? [lines 90-109]
  3. Why had Ruin been cast from Mt. Olympus?
  4. What does Odysseus feel is important for the men to do before they go into battle?
  5. What oath does Agamemnon make regarding Briseis?
  6. What vow had Patroclus made to Briseis regarding Achilles?
  7. What does Zeus have Athena do to make Achilles ready for battle?
  8. What was unusual about Achilles' spear?
  9. What unusual occurence happens with Achilles' horses?
  10. What future does Achilles know as he goes into battle?

Book 20: Olympian Gods in Arms

Overview

Zeus calls all the gods together and tells them they can join the fight. The gods square off to fight each other, but instead allow the two forces to fight. Aeneas and Achilles battle. Hector and Achilles kill men.

 

We swept down from Olympus, all to join this fight
so Achilles might not fall at Trojan hands today.
Afterward he must suffer what the Fates spun out
on the doomed fighter's life line drawn that day
his mother gave him birth.

New Characters

  • Themis
  • Polydorus
  • Tros

Thought Questions:

  • Once again note the ritualistic insulting of the opponent as Aeneas and Achilles square off. What seems to be Aeneas' concerns in his comments?
  • What kind of picture of Achilles do lines 528-529 and lines 554-569 paint?

Quiz on the Book:

  1. Why does Zeus decide to let the gods fight?
  2. Which gods fight for Trojans?
  3. Which gods fight for the Achaeans?
  4. What does Poseidon do which causes Hades to cring and scream?
  5. Which god tries to spur Aeneas on to face Achilles?
  6. Where do the two sets of gods end up?
  7. How is Aeneas saved in his confrontation with Achilles?
  8. Whose death spurs Hector on to fight Achilles?
  9. How is Hector protected by Apollo?
  10. How is Tros' attempt to save his life similar to an earlier episode with Achilles?

Book 21: Achilles Fights the River

Overview

Achilles drives the Trojans toward the city and the river Xanthus. First he encounters Lycaon. Then Achilles encounters Xanthus. The gods all attack each other.

New Characters and Names Introduced

  • Agenor

Thought Questions:

  • How is Lycaon's encounter similar to Tros'? What does it suggest about how inhuman Achilles has become?
  • What are the human qualities each of the gods seems to exhibit?
  • Are we intended to see a similiarity between Zeus' watching his children fighting from Olympus and Priam watching his children from the "god-built heights"?

Quiz on the Book:

  1. How did Lycaon know Achilles?
  2. Does Achilles kill everyone he meets?
  3. Why does Xanthus take human shape?
  4. How is Achilles saved from Xanthus?
  5. How does Athena attack Ares and Aphrodite?
  6. What does Artemis do when Hera attacks her?
  7. What does Hermes do to Leto?
  8. Why does Agenor decide to face Achilles?
  9. How does Phoebus Apollo save Agenor?
  10. How does the book end?

Book 22: The Death of Hector

Overview

Apollo taunts Achilles. King Priam sees Achilles coming and begs Hector not to fight him. His mother also begs him not to fight. Hector runs from Achilles around the walls of Troy. Apollo tries to help him one last time. The two finally stand and fight. Hector is killed. Achilles then drags his body to the ships.

 

"then Father Zeus held out his sacred golden scales:
in them he placed two fates of death that lays men low-
one for Achilles, one for Hector breaker of horses-
and gripping the beam mid-haft the Father raised it high
and down went Hector's day of doom, dragging him down
to the strong House of Death-and god Apollo left him.
"

 

 

Achilles drags Hector's body away to the ships while the two sides and Andromache on the walls looks on.
Painted by David Claudon based on Archaic geometric oinochoe designs.
From Greek Art & Archeology by John Griffiths Pedley, p 118.

New Characters and Names Introduced

 

Thought Questions:

  • Note the parallels between the mourning Achilles does and the reactions of Hector's family and city. Do you think Homer sympathizes with the Trojans or the Achaens?
  • The impact of war on the civilian population is shown quite powerfully in Andromache's speech [lines 560-605]. What makes the speech so powerful?
Quiz on the Book:
  1. Why does Hector decide to stay and fight Achilles
  2. How many times does Hector run around the city of Troy?
  3. What does Zeus suggest that is ridiculed by Athena?
  4. How does Athena trick Hector?
  5. What happens to Achilles spear?
  6. When does Hector realize he has been tricked?
  7. What is the only vunerable place on Achilles/Hector's armor?
  8. What does Achilles tell Hector will happen to his body?
  9. How do the Acheans react to Hector's dead body?
  10. What does Andromache do when she sees Hector's body

Book 23: Funeral Games for Patroclus

Overview

Achilles leads the troops in a public display of mourning for Patroclus. During the night Patroclus' ghost appears to Achilles. The next day Patroclus' body is burned. After the body is burned, the troops participate in funeral games.

New Characters and Names Introduced

  • Zephyr
  • Boreas
  • Antilochus

Thought Questions:

  • What number is repeated over and over again throughout the epic poem?
  • What steps do the Achaeans go through in preparing for Patroclus' funeral pyre?
  • What do the prizes offered for the games tell us about what the Achaeans valued?

Quiz on the Book:

  1. What is the first thing Achilles has his men do to honor Patroclus?
  2. What does Patroclus ask Achilles to do with his ashes and bones?
  3. What color is Achilles hair?
  4. What does Achilles wrap Patroclus' body in?
  5. What does Aphrodite do for Hector?
  6. Which deity convinces the winds to come and help the pyre burn?
  7. Who are the first three charioteers to cross the finish line? (In Order)
  8. What other games are played?
  9. Who wins in the first match between Ajax and Odysseus?
  10. How does Odysseus win the second?
  11. Why is Meriones able to hit the dove?
  12. Why does Agamemnon get the cauldron?

Book 24: Achilles and Priam

Overview

While Achilles grieves, the gods argue about what to do about Hector's body. Thetis is summoned to hear Zeus' decision and conveys it to Achilles. Iris takes a message to Priam. Priam goes to Achilles once he has convinced Hecuba he must go. A god leads him to Achilles and he begs for his son's body. Priam spends part of the night and then returns with Hector's body. The book ends with Hector's funeral.

 

.

New Characters and Names Introduced

  • Cassandra

Thought Questions:

  • What view of Achilles do we get at the beginning of the book?
  • What does the arguement among the gods tells us about how they view Achilles and Hector?
  • How is Achilles' lodging described?
  • Does Achilles have a true change of heart or is he only doing what he is commanded to do?
  • What are the differences between the Trojan preparations and funeral and the Achaeans'?
  • How long does Helen say she's been gone from Achaea?

Quiz on the Book:

  1. Where does Achilles drag Hector's body?
  2. What does Apollo do to protect Hector's body?
  3. What decree does Zeus give Thetis?
  4. What is Achilles reaction to Zeus' decision?
  5. What message is Priam given?
  6. How does Priam convey the ransom to Achilles?
  7. What sign from Zeus calms Hecuba's concern for Priam's safety?
  8. Who leads Priam to Achilles?
  9. What does Priam talk about which stirs Achilles' pity?
  10. How many days does Priam say he needs for Hector's funeral
  11. Why does Priam leave early?
| Background | Cycle |
| Study Guide1 | Study Guide 2 |
| Study Guide 3 | Study Guide 4 |
This webpage created by David Claudon, 16 August 2001. Last update, October 15, 2003 .
[ Home ] [ Rich East ] [ The Cleopatra Costume ] [ Commedia dell'Arte ] [ Cyrano ] [ Dressing for Shakespeare ]
[ The Iliad ][ Decorating Forties Style ]
[ Decorating for a Fifties Christmas ] [ To Kill a Mockingbird ]
[
Who's Who in GLBT History ] [ Miniatures ] [ Paper Dolls ] [ Santa Collection ] [ Clarence ] [ St. Bernardine's Church ]