The Iliad Book 22 – a reaction

A blog response to Book 22 of The Iliad by Homer for Literature class


Book 22 starts off as Hektor being the only one left outside Troy. Priam begs him to come inside but Hektor’s pride tells him not to because according to him, he would just be shamed in front of the town’s people if he chickens out of the fight. When Akhilleus returns from chasing Apollo (who was disguised as Agenor), Hektor confronts him. Hektor tries negotiating but realizes it is hopeless so he flees the scene. He and Akhilleus run around the city like cat and mouse thrice. During this chase, Zeus thinks about saving Akhilleus when Athena tells him that the Trojan champion’s time has come and upon hearing this Zeus checks his golden scale. True enough, Hektor’s side sinks to the ground. During the fourth round around the city, Athena appears in front of Hektor disguised as Deiphobus and convinces Hektor they can take Akhilleus. Hektor listens and faces Akhilleus. They exchange spear throws but none of them hit the other. When Hektor asks Deiphobus for a lance, he finds out his friend has left and realizes the gods betrayed him. He is desperate and charges at Akhilleus. Unfortunately for Hektor, he is still wearing Patroklos’ armor, Akhilleus’ old one. Akhilleus knows the weak points of the armor and thrusts his spear in Hektor’s throat. Hektor’s last breaths were a plea to return his body to the Trojans for the proper burial rights. However, Akhilleus has other plans: to feed his body to the dogs and scavenger birds. The other Akhaians gather around the dead Trojan hero and stab his corpse. Akhilleus ties Hektor’s body to the back of his chariot and drags it around. Seeing this from the city walls, Priam and Hekuba, Hektor’s parents, wail with grief. Andromakhe, Hektor’s wife, hears this and runs outside. Upon seeing the reason for her in laws’ grief, she joins them as well.

This Book displays some inhumane actions by Akhilleus. It is enough that he has slain the Trojan champion who killed his friend but to disrespect it in the way that he did was just too much. Of course that is looking from an outside perspective. What is more interesting though, is what could have been going on in Akhilleus’ head when he did that.

I think that he did that to send a message to the Trojans: you messed with my friend, you answer to me. It is that sense of brotherhood that got him this angry. I can relate well because like I mentioned in one of my previous blogs, I am the type of person who considers my friends family. I am not saying that the disrespecting of the body was justifiable, I am merely trying to give perspective as to why Akhilleus could have done such a thing.


2 Responses to “The Iliad Book 22 – a reaction”

  1. i miss books 23 and 24…

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