Iliad Book 3

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Book 3 Summary

Paris offers a challenge to the Greek army, an individual combat/duel.

  • This shows him as being brave, yet he is a 'parody' when Menelaus accepts his challenge as he runs away.
  • Paris shows more concern for his appearance than his kleos.
  • When he rejects the offer a duel he loses kleos and time.

Hector shames Paris into fighting but only once Priam has sworn an oath that the sides will abide by the outcome and the winner will recieve Helen.

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Book 3 Summary

Helen is informed of the duel by Iris who is disguised as Laodice. Helen races to the Scaean Gate. Here she is praised for he beauty and she introduces/identifies Agamemnon, Odysseus and Ajax.

  • This is slightly strange as the war is in its tenth year, so she is introducing them for the readers benefit.
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Book 3 Summary

Paris throws first at Menelaus and hits his shield. Menelaus then throws at Paris and misses, then launches his sword at Paris which hits his helmet.

Menelaus appeals to Zeus at this point as he wants Paris to be punished for his lack of Xenia.

After his prayer he attacks Paris, grabs his horsehair crest, and drags him towards the Greek lines.

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Book 3 Summary

Aphrodite then intervenes, she covers him in dust and transports him back to his bedroom. Meanwhile, Menelaus searches for Paris the 'parody'.

Helen is forced to go to Paris' room despite her protestations. She goes to bed with Paris and is overcome with lust.

  • Here shows that Aphrodite is merely not a Goddess but also an emotion.
  • The conduct of Aphrodite raises the issue of how much free will humans have.
  • Do fate and the gods overrule any human decision
  • But the Gods cannot change destiny
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