The Iliad Books 10&11 – a reaction

A blog response to Books 10&11 of The Iliad by Homer for Literature class.


In Books 10 and 11, basically the war just continues. In Book 10, the Akhaians sleep except Agammemnon and Menalaos. Eventually, they wake up other commanders. They meet on open ground to plan their next move and Nestor suggests that they send a spy to check the Trojan army. Diomedes volunteers and asks that Odysseus accompany him. They go off but with prayer to Athena for protection. As this is happening, Hektor too, sends a spy to check if the Akhaians have planned an escape. He chooses Dolon and promises him Akhilleus’ chariot and horses once the Akhains fall. Dolon agrees but not long into his little adventure, he encounters Odysseus and Diomedes. He gets interrogated and rats out the plans of the Trojans and their locations and then he is killed and stripped of armor by Diomedes. The Akhain spies then proceed to the Thracian camp because they were told by Dolon that this camp is vulnerable at the moment. They kill twelve soldiers including the Thracian king, Rhesus. They take his chariot and ride it back to the Akhaian camp upon hearing from Athena that another god may be angered and might wake up other soldiers. Nestor and the rest of the commanders were worried that the two might have been killed but greet them warmly upon their arrival.

In Book 11, Zeus rains blood upon the Akhaian lines. They are in panic but Agammemnon is hit with a stroke of genius and leads the Akhaians’ great response and this results in pushing back the Trojans back to their gates. Upon this, Zeus tells Iris to tell Hektor to wait until Agammemnon is wounded before he attacks. It is not long before Agammemnon is wounded by Koon, Antenor’s eldest son. Agammemnon is able to fight back and kills Koon but the pain eventually gets unbearable and this forces him back to the ships. Hektor remembers what Iris told him and attacks the Akhaian lines, pushing them back. The Akhaians are ready to retreat but continue fighting after a flurry of inspiring words by Odysseus and Diomedes. Diomedes hurls a spear at Hektor and hits his helmet. Hektor’s near death experience forces him to retreat but Alexandros gets revenge for his brother when he gets Diomedes with an arrow. Diomedes is down but Odysseus continues fighting until he eventually gets wounded and Great Aias takes him to the ships to avoid further injury. Hektor’s continuous assault is held off by the Greeks until Makhaon is wounded by Alexandros so he is taken back to the tents by Nestor. The Greeks, along with Aias, are forced to retreat. Akhilleus sees the wounded Makhaon in his chariot but is unsure whether he saw correctly so he instructed Patroklos to check on Makhaon. Nestor tells Patroklos about all the commanders who have been wounded and begs him to persuade Akhilleus to go back in war or at least for him to wear Akhilleus’ armor so that the men will think he is back and will get them fired up again. Patroklos agrees to an attempt at persuading Akhilleus.

Personally, I did not like reading these two Books because they were so long and they got pretty boring. The long blocks of text really got my attention going elsewhere again and it was hard to focus while reading. However, after reading a couple of times and after the class discussion, I finally had a better grasp of what was happening in these two Books. I actually began to like it because it was pretty exciting, especially in Book 11 when they sent spies to each other. When I was reading and my focus had not gone else where, I would be “on the edge of my seat” if you wish to put it that way because I was really anticipating and even trying to predict what is going to happen next like if the spies would get caught or not. Also, I admired the fighting heart of (especially) the commanders. They really would not give up even if their lines had already been pushed all the way back. Even if they knew that Zeus was on the side of the Trojans, they still continued to fight and it actually worked. They were able to make Hektor retreat. I suppose I can relate because there have been times wherein I felt like nothing is going wrong but I just go through with what I am doing and in the end I feel happy that I continued because more often than not, they yielded good results. Like the Akhaians, the good result that their perseverance yielded is that they got to make Hektor retreat.


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