In Book XVIII of the Iliad, Achilles is distraught. Patroclus has been killed by Hector, and the armor of Achilles has been stripped and stolen by Hector. Thetis, Achilles's goddess mother, travels to the house of Hephaestus to convince him to build a new shield for Achilles so he can return to the battle and … Continue reading Book XVIII of the Iliad: Examining the Shield of Achilles
In Book IX of the Iliad, the Achaeans have been stricken with Panic ("panicos" meaning pertaining to Pan, the god of shepherds and wild animals). In the absence of Achilles on the battlefield, Hector has beaten back the Achaeans nearly to their ships. All that is left is to burn the Achaean ships into the … Continue reading Persuading Achilles: Books IX, XVI, XXIV Considered
Achilles is a man of many passions. He is often descibed as quick, or "swift-footed." For Achilles, the warrior, his life is short and grim. His unfettered rage is drawn out and drawn towards those who have offended him, especially those who have offended him most recently. He knows only friends and enemies. Rather than pursuing … Continue reading Thoughts on Odysseus and Achilles
The rage, or menin sometimes translated as "wrath", of Achilles is the opening word of the Iliad and bears crucial significance with respect to the remaining content of the epic. This opening word stands in contrast to the first line of the Odyssey, a text about a man, whose opening word is andra, meaning "man." If we take … Continue reading What is the Rage of Achilles?
Book Two of the Iliad is the most politically revealing passage found in Homeric literature. Recall our heroes, the disparate Achaean princes feuding with one another. Despite being united under the arrogant leadership of Agamemnon, who is regularly deemed "the shepherd of the people," the Achaeans are squabbling over property. The Achaeans have banded together to … Continue reading Political Philosophy in the Iliad