Book 4 Summary

Book 4 Summary

Book 4 begins with a little confusion. Since Paris was saved by Aphrodite, does this mean the war is over? Is there a victor?

Zeus decides to test the water by suggesting to Hera that peace should be made between the two sides (he is half joking).

However Hera is annoyed at this suggestion and lashes out. Zeus also cheekily states that Aphrodite did much more for the Trojans than Hera ever did for the Greeks.

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Book 4 Summary

Her objection stems from two sources:

  • It is the cities fate to be destroyed
  • She has worked long and hard to gather the Greek army to bring destruction to the city.

Zeus backs down stating he doesnt want to start an argument.

  • He does not understand her anger against Ilium, a city that he loves and which has showed great respect to him through sacrifices.

He tells her he will destroy one of her favourite cities in the future. She accepts this and even lists them, and says that Zeus must accept her wishes as she is his wife AND sister.

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Book 4 Summary

Athene is then sent to the battlefield, and she approaches Pandarus a Trojan archer to fire an arrow at Menelaus to ensure the war restarts. Pandarus agrees to fire the arrow due to though of gaining kleos.

Athene guides the arrow to Menelaus' belt, enough to draw blood but not to injure him.

Homer then changes from third-person to second, directing Menelaus as 'you'. This is done out of respect for the character and to make him seem 'alive', almost as if he was present at the retelling. 

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Book 4 Summary

After checking that his brother is okay, Agamemnon rallies the troops. He inspires those who are preparing and criticises those who are not. 

He annoys Odysseus by attacking him, and Odysseus attacks him back. Agamemnon apologises and promises hims gifts after the battle.

He also then insults Diomedes and compares him to his Father. Diomedes takes the insult and reprimands his friend Sthenelus who talks back at Agamemnon.

Diomedes highlights how he is their leader and should be respected as he bears the responsibility for winning the war.

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Book 4 Summary

Fighting re-begins viciously. 

  • Homer describes the battle violently
  • 'innards gushing onto the ground'
  • 'spears penetrating temples and darkness engulfing their eyes'
  • 'rivers of blood'

War shows no respect for peoples birth, wealth or character. 

  • Death of Simoisius, a boy killed before his time.
  • Does not have the time to repay his parents kindness
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