The Iliad Book 19 – a reaction


A blog response to Books 19 of The Iliad by Homer for Literature class

 

In Book 19, Thetis brings Akhilleus the armor she had Hephaestus make. She promises Akhilleus that she will look after Patroklos’ body while he goes to war; he leaves to call his men to an assembly. In that assembly, Akhilleus and Agammemnon reconcile with each other; Agammemnon gives the gifts he promised and returns Briseis as will. Akhilleus tells them that he wants to go to war immediately but Odysseus tells him they will be weak if he and the army do not eat first. Akhilleus tells Odysseus that he will not eat until he kills Hektor. While the army eats, Akhilleus mourns his friend. Briseis mourns along with him because she remembers how kind Patroklos was to her when she first got out of her homeland. Zeus sees this and instructs Athena to fill Akhilleus’ stomach with nectar and ambrosia to subside the hunger. When the army is done eating, Akhilleus gears up for battle and as he gets on his chariot, he has a little conversation with his horses. He reprimands them for leaving Patroklos to die but one of his horses says that it was a god who fated Patroklos’ death and the same will happen to Akhilleus. Akhilleus says he is well aware of his fate if he enters battle.

I think that Akhilleus displays human characteristics in this Book. He did not want to eat because he was mourning his dead friend, this is just fitting because when a person is depressed, it is normal for him to lose sleep, his appetite, etc and this is what we see in Akhilleus: he did not feel like eating. Another one is hard headedness. He was warned that he would die if he went to battle but he did because his decision making was clouded by his anger. Letting emotions affect the way decisions are made are very human characteristics and very immature at that.

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