The Iliad Book 18 – a reaction

A blog response to Books 18 of The Iliad by Homer for Literature class

Upon receiving the news from Antilokhos of Patroklos’ death, Akhilleus goes mad. He cries and strikes the ground with his fists and covers his face with dirt from the ground. He cries so loud that his mother hears him, prompting her to visit him along with her water-nymph sisters from the ocean. Akhilleus tells her what happened, and also mentions that he will get revenge on Hektor. He says this even if he knows that he will die young if goes to war now. All Thetis tells him is that since Hektor is wearing his armor, she will have Hephaestus make him a new one if he can postpone fighting Hektor for a day. Hera sends Iris to tell Akhilleus that he has to make an appearance on the battlefield so that the Trojans will give up the battle for Patroklos body. Akhilleus does exactly this; he is accompanied by Athena and he lets out an enormous cry that sends the Trojans fleeing. In the evening, the Trojans and Akhaians each hold assemblies to organize themselves and plan their next move. Poulydamas tells the Trojans to retreat to the city because Akhilleus has decided to go back to the war. Hektor on the other hand, disagrees with him and insists on repeating the assault they did the previous day and he wins the support of the Trojans. The Akhaians begin the mourning for Patroklos. Akhilleus’ men cleans his wounds to prepare him for burial but Akhilleus vows not to bury his friend until he kills Hektor. Thetis goes to Hephaestus to ask for a new armor for her son. He makes a breastplate, helmet, and an extraordinary shield with designs of constellations, children, pastures, and cities of men.

I totally understand and agree with Akhilleus’ sentiments regarding what happened to Patroklos. I am the type of person who considers my friends family as well. Therefore if someone like Hektor did something to one of my friends, a close one at that, my reaction would not be far from that of Akhilleus. I would be very torn at first and then I would want to take revenge on the person.

Hektor killed Patroklos, and that is why Akhilleus had the right to react in the manner in which he did. How can he not when others, including myself, will have a similar  reaction when someone as much as talks foul about a friend. That is just verbal, physically would mean war. I mean, if someone were to for example, verbally attack a friend of mine, I would confront that person immediately. But if he attacks my friend physically, then that is a whole different story; no questions asked I will attack the guy too.

For me it’s simple: friendship is brotherhood and family. I have their backs and they have mine.


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