The Iliad Book Summaries

Book summaries for the set books in The Iliad.

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  • Created by: Holly
  • Created on: 04-05-13 17:30

Book 6

  • The Achaean forces push the Trojans back towards the city. 
  • Menelaos is offered a ransom by a Trojan name Adrestus, Agamemnon reminds him of how he was treated by the Trojans and persuades Menelaos to kill him.
  • Nestor can see the Trojans are weakening, he urges the Achaeans to keep killing and to refrain from taking the possessions of their enemies until the battle is over.
  • The Trojans are feeling pessimistic. The soothsayer Helenos urges Hektor to find his mother, Queen Hekabe, inside Troy and ask her and her noblewomen to pray at the temple of Athene.
  • Hektor takes the advice and relays the instructions to his mother. He then visits Alexandros (Paris), who has withdrawn from the fighting.
  • Both Helen and Hektor scorn him until he decides to arm himself for battle.
  • Hektor then visits Andromache, his wife. She is found nursing their son Astyanax by the city walls whilst watching the battle below. 
  • Andromache begs Hektor not to fight, but he says that he cannot escape his fate.
  • Hektor goes to kiss Astyanax but he is frightened by the crest on Hektor's helmet. 
  • When Hektor leaves, Andromache, convinced that he is doomed, begins mourning.
  • Hektor meets Alexandros and the brothers prepare to rejoin the battle.
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Book 18

  • Antilochos breaks the news of Patroklos' death to Achilleus. The warrior breaks down, beating the ground and covering himself in dirt. His "terrible, wrenching cry" reaches even his mother, Thetis, who comes with her water nympths to find out what has upset her son.
  • Achilleus insists that he will avenge Patroklos by killing Hektor, even though he knows that if he chooses the life of a warrior he will die young.
  • Hektor has Achilleus' armour, so Thetis says that she will have Hephaistos make him a new set - if he can delay his revenge for at least a day.
  • Thetis leaves and is replaced by Iris, sent by Hera, who tells Achilleus that he must make an appearance on the plain. The sight of Achilleus is enough to scare the Trojans away from Patroklos' body. On the battle field, the enormous cry Achilleus emits does its job.
  • That night, both armies plan their next moves. Poulydarmus urges the Trojans to retreat into the city now that Achilleus has returned. Hektor dismisses the idea, he wants to repeat the previous day's assault. This is a foolish plan but it wins over the Trojan warriors as they have had their wits taken by Athene.
  • In the Achaean camp, the men mourn for Patroklos. They clean his wounds and prepare him to be buried, though he will not be laid to rest until Achilleus has killed Hektor.
  • Thetis goes to Hephaistos' home and asks for a new armour for Achilleus. He forges a breastplate, helmet, and an extraordinary shield that is described in great detail.
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Book 22

  • Hektor is the only Trojan outside of the city walls. Priam begs him to come inside from the ramparts, but Hektor ordered his men to camp outside the gates the previous night and feels too ashamed to join the retreat.
  • Achilleus returns from chasing Agenor, who is really Apollo in disguise. Hektor confronts him. He starts by trying to negotiate with Achilleus but this is pointless, so he runs away. They run around Troy three times.
  • Zeus considers intervening and saving Hektor but Athene persuades him to let the Trojan die. Zeus places Hektor's and Achilleus' fates on a golden scale and Hektor's sinks to the ground.
  • The fourth time around the city, Athene appears to Hektor (she is disguised as Deiphobos) and convinces him that together they can kill Achilleus. Hektor and Achilleus exchange spear throws but neither succeeds.
  • Hektor turns to Deiphobus to ask for a lance but realises too late that the gods have tricked him.
  • So he charges at Achilles, but he knows his old armour's weak points. He sends a spear through Hektor's throat.
  • Hektor, close to dying, asks for his body to be returned to the Trojans but Achilleus denies him this.
  • The Achaeans gather round and stab him, Achilleus drags him through the dirt tied to the back of his chariot.
  • Priam and Hekabe watch from the wall. Andromoche hears the wailing and runs outside, when she sees what is happening to her hursband's body she collapses.
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Book 24

  • Achilleus continues mourning for Patroclos and abusing Hektor's body, dragging it around his dead friend's tomb. Apollo protects the corpse from damage and rot.
  • On the twelfth day after Hektor's death, Apollo persuades Zeus that Achilleus must let Hektor's body go. Zeus sends Thetis to give the news to Achilleus, while Iris goes to Priam to persuade him to initiate the ransom.
  • Hekabe worries that Achilleus will kill her husband, but stops when she sees a the omen of an eagle sent by Zeus.
  • Priam and his driver, Idaios, set out with a chariot full of treasure. Zeus sends Hermes, disguised as a soldier, to guide Priam through the Greek camp.
  • The chariot arrives at Achilleus' tent and Hermes reveals himself. He then leaves Priam alone with Achilleus.
  • Priam begs for Hektor's body. He asks Achilleus to think of his own father, Peleus, in an attempt to persuade him.
  • It works, as Achilleus begins to weep for both his father and for Patroclos. He accepts the ransom.
  • Priam sleeps in Achilleus' tent that night, but Hermes wakes him, warning him to be aware of the enemey. Priam and Idiaos place Hektor in their chariot and slip out of the camp unnoticed.
  • All of the women in Troy cry when they see Hektor's body. For nine days they prepare the funeral, on the tenth day the pyre is lit.
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