The Iliad Context Books


Book 6 Summary

  • The Trojans and Achaians are still fighting, and the Achaians kill many Trojans.
  • Adrestos convinces Menelaos not to kill him, saying his father will pay a high ransom for him, but Agamemnon comes over and says that all Trojans, even the unborn, must be killed. Menelaos pushes Adrestos away and Agamemnon kills him with his spear.
  • Nestor tells them just to kill because they can take spoils from the dead later.
  • Helenos tells Aineias and Hektor to rally the men, and Hektor to tell the women to pray to Athene, offering her a robe in the hope she will save the Trojans.
  • Glaukos and Diomedes meet and share tales of their ancestry. It is discovered that their families are joined in guest-friendship, and they exchange armour.
  • Hektor arrives at home and his mother tries to invite him in with wine but he refuses and tells her to take the other women and offer a robe to Athene. Athene doesn't grant their prayer.
  • Hektor finds Paris fussing over his armour and rebukes him for not caring about the dying. Helen tells him to come in but he won't. When he gets home, Andromache is not there.
  • The housekeeper says that she is by the wall of Troy with the nurse and the baby.
  • When Hektor finds her, she recalls how Achilleus killed all her family and begs him not to go back into the fighting. He says that he must and that he hopes he is dead before she becomes a slave. Hektor's helmet scares Astyanax so he takes it off to cuddle him.
  • Paris and Hektor go back into battle, with Paris being likened to a galloping horse.
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Book 6 Quotes

Moral values: "Not one of them must escape stark destruction at our hands, even the boys still carried in their mothers' wombs"

Portrayal of war:"Go over the plain ********* the bodies of the dead at your leisure"

Narrative techniques (foreshadowing):"The city will soon be burning with fire to destroy it"

Heroism:"It is on you two more than any of the Trojans and Lycians that the burden of battle falls"

Honour and reputation: "We are proud to claim guest-friendship from our fathers' time"

Narrative techniques (irony): "Frightened by the bronze and the crest of horse hair"

Narrative techniques (Homeric simile): "The mane streams back along his shoulders: sure of his own magnificence"

Gods: "Such was her prayer, but Pallas Athene shook her head in refusal"

Narrative techniques (pathos): "May I be dead (...) before I hear your screams and the sound of you being dragged away"

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Book 18 Summary

  • Antilochos reaches the Achaian camp. Achilleus is wondering why they are all returning, and if it means that Patroklos is dead. Antilochos says that he is, and Achilles breaks down.
  • Thetis hears Achilleus lamenting, and she goes to ask him what is wrong. He tells her and says that he is willing to die young as long as he can kill Hektor.
  • Thetis tells him not to fight until she has come back with armour for him.
  • Iris appears after Thetis has left, sent by Hera without Zeus' knowledge. She convinces Achilleus to go onto the battlefield without armour to terrify the Trojans.
  • Athene wraps the aegis around his shoulders and Hera gives him a burning halo. He shouts and the Trojans flee in terror. The Achaians take Patroklos' body back.
  • Hera makes the sun set quickly, and Achilleus weeps at the sight of Patroklos.
  • Poulydamas tells the Trojans to retreat back inside the city, but Hektor says they should bivouac, and the Trojans follow him, despite it being bad advice.
  • Achilleus mourns Patroklos and won't bury him until he has his armour back and Hektor's head, and he will cut the throats of 12 Trojan children on his pyre.
  • Thetis visits Hephaistos, and is well received. She asks him to make Achilleus' armour.
  • He makes a huge shield and covers it with images of life ~ the cosmos, a city at peace and a city at war, sheep and cattle, ploughland, a vineyard, corn reaping, dancing, and Ocean. He also makes a corselet, helmet, and greaves.
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Book 18 Quotes

Narrative techniques (metaphor):"The black cloud of sorrow enveloped Achilleus"

Gods: "Pallas Athene had taken away their wits"

Narrative techniques (pathos): "Child, why are you crying? What pain has touched your heart?" / "Huge and hugely fallen"

The power of fate: "Directly after Hektor dies your own doom is certain"

Portrayal of war: "His warm tears falling when he saw his trusted friend lying there on the bier, torn by the sharp bronze"

Narrative techniques (peripeteia): "I shall take my own death at whatever time Zeus and the other immortal Gods wish to bring it on me"

Moral values: "It will be your disgrace if he goes down to the dead mutilated"

Honour and reputation: "Athene wrapped the tasselled aegis about his powerful shoulders"

Heroism:"He gave me a son to bear and raise, to be the greatest of heroes"

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Book 22 Summary

  • Once the Trojans are inside, Apollo tells Achilleus to stop chasing him because he is a God. Achilleus is angry and threatens him before turning back.
  • Priam sees him coming, and he and Hekabe beg Hektor to come inside, but he won't. Hektor starts to wonder if he made the right choice. When he sees Achilleus he is terrified and runs away, and he is chased three times around Troy.
  • Zeus is sad to see Hektor in mortal peril, and Athene convinces him to let Hektor die. Apollo gives Hektor strength and speed in his legs.
  • Zeus weighs the fates, and Hektor's sinks down into Hades. At this point, Apollo leaves Hektor, and Athene tells Achilleus to rest while she deceives him.
  • Athene appears to Hektor as Deïphobos, saying they will fight Achilleus together.
  • Hektor tries to get Achilleus to agree to return his body if he dies, but he refuses.
  • Hektor dodges Achilleus' spear, but doesn't see Athene return it to him. Hektor's spear bounces off Achilleus' shield, and Hektor realises he has been tricked.
  • Achilleus stabs Hektor in the neck and Hektor tries in vain again to get him to agree to return his body, and then prophesies his death before dying.
  • Achilleus ties Hektor's feet to a chariot and rides around with his head trailing in the dust.
  • Priam and Hekabe lament his death, and Andromache hears them. She faints before lamenting him also.
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Book 22 Quotes

Narrative techniques (simile): "The Trojans, panicked like deer"

Women:"Like a woman in frenzy"

Narrative techniques (hubris):"I would surely pay you back, if only I had the power"

Honour and reputation:"We have won great glory ~ we have killed glorious Hektor"

Narrative techniques (Homeric simile): "It is the brightest of stars, yet a sign of evil"

Gods: "Athene led him forward in her treachery"

Narrative techniques (foreshadowing): "She flung away from her head her shining headdress"

Heroism: "There are no treaties of trust between lions and men: wolves and lambs share no unity"

Moral values: "And then he put glorious Hektor to shameful treatment"

Narrative techniques (zoomorphism): "I wish I could eat you myself"

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Book 24 Summary

  • Achilleus continues to mourn Patroklos and desecrate Hektor's body, but the Gods won't let any harm come to the corpse. The Gods argue, and Zeus sends Iris to bring Thetis to him.
  • Zeus tells Thetis to tell Achilleus that the Gods are angry with him as he won't release Hektor. Achilleus agrees to ransom him, and Iris is sent to tell Priam.
  • Hekabe begs him not to go. He refuses and rebukes all his living sons. She convinces him to libate to Zeus and ask for an omen. He sends a black eagle. 
  • Priam is met by Hermes disguised as a young Prince, who offers to be his protector. He refuses to accept a gift, but he gets him inside the camp, putting men to sleep and opening the bolt to Achilleus' tent. He reveals his identity and tells him how to beg before leaving.
  • Priam enters unseen, and startles Achilleus by grabbing his knees and begging him to think of his own father when ransoming Hektor's body. They both weep.
  • Achilleus pities him and asks him to sit down, but threatens him when he refuses. Priam sits and Achilleus goes to get the body ready. He then insists on feeding Priam and asks how long he wants to mourn Hektor, agreeing to hold back his army for twelve days. 
  • A bed is made for Priam and they go to sleep, but Hermes later appears and tells him to leave before Agamemnon finds him. Hermes himself drives them away.
  • Kassandra shrieks when she sees Hektor, and he is lamented by Andromache, Hekabe, and Helen. For nine days, wood is brought for the pyre, and then Hektor is cremated, and his bones buried, followed by a feast in Priam's house.
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Book 24 Quotes

Narrative techniques (pathos): "Kissed his hands, those terrible, murderous hands, which had killed many of his sons" / "I have brought to my lips the hands of the man who killed my child"

Portrayal of war: "How you could you bear to come (...) to the eyes of a man who has killed many of your brave sons?" / "Your father was not a gentle man in the misery of battle"

Narrative techniques (irony/catharsis): "Priam cried loud for murderous Hektor"

Women: "You leave me behind a widow in your house. And our child is still only a baby"

Moral values: "I will hold back the fighting for the time that you ask"

Narrative techniques (metaphor): "Your heart must be of iron"

Heroism: "I am left with all these disgraces, braggarts and dandies, heroes of the dance-floor, thievers of sheep and goats from their own people"

Gods: "It was Hermes the kindly God who opened it for the old man"

Narrative techniques (peripeteia/anagnorisis): "You will not gain anything by mourning for your son: you will not bring him back to life"

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