Free Essays - Victorious Achilleus of the Iliad


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Victorious Achilleus of the Iliad  


From reading book twenty two in the Iliad it is clear, from the beginning, that Achilleus will prevail in the battle against Hektor.  The reader is given many hints from the text that Achilleus will succeed.  Homer, the writer of the text, feels he will win, and so gives the reader hints of his victory though his narration, and through the words of Hektor's parents, and the gods.

     First, Hektor's father encourages his son to allow other men to fight with him in battle against Achilleus.  He says, "Hektor, beloved child to not wait the attack of this man alone, away from the others.  You might encounter your destiny eaten down by Peleion, since he is far stronger than you" (Homer 436).  Hektor's father assumes that if Hektor fights alone he will certainly lose.  Hektor's father knows what a great warrior Achilleus is, and so seeks to convince his son to cast away his pride, admit he is weaker, and solicit support from his fellow Trojans.  He has already lost a few sons at the hands of Achilleus and expects that Hektor cannot possibly win.  Since his father recognizes his weakness, this is the first hint about the outcome of the battle.  But Hektor, brave man that he is, will not be so easily convinced that Achilleus is stronger.  Even Hektor's mom is skeptical he can triumph over Achilles and begs him, "Do not go out as champion against him, o hard one; for if he kills you I can no longer morn you..." (Homer 437).  She too has little faith that he will overcome Achilleus and is concerned he will die at the hands of this great warrior.  She is so worried she does not even want him to fight.

     Next, Homer gives the reader a few more indirect suggestions about the outcome of the battle.  When Hektor first sees Achilleus approaching, he does not act like a extremely brave warrior.  Homer explains, "And the shivers took hold of Hektor when he saw him, and he could no longer stand his ground there, but left the gates behind, and fled, frightened..." (Homer 438).  Obviously, it seems unlikely Hektor can slay Achilleus since he is so afraid he cannot even stand his ground.  If he has no confidence in his fighting ability surely most readers will also think he is unable to win and that is why he chooses his only option-fleeing.

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  Additionally, Homer describe the pursuit, "It was as great man who fled, but far better he who pursued him..."(Homer 439).  So, Homer understands that Hektor is indeed a great warrior, but like Hektor's father and mother, he also considers  Achilleus is a much greater fighter.  And, from theses quotes,  it is clear that to no one is it plausible that Hektor will win.  His fleeing defiantly supports this notion.

      According to Homer, the gods also accept the idea that Achilleus will be victorious.  When Zeus, the father of the gods weighs the portions of death on his scale Hektor's death day is heavier.  Thus, it looks again as if death is certain for Hektor.  Pallas Athene even helps Achilleus when he throws his spear.  Achilleus aims for Hektor and misses, but Pallas Athene retrieves the spear for him without anyone noticing.  Obviously, then, the gods are on Achilleus side and now it is certain that Hektor has no hope to win the battle.

    Within the next few pages the outcome of the battle is revealed.  As all the clues of the text predicted, Hektor is defeated.  His body is tied to Achilleus's chariot and drug throughout the city.


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