Homer: The Iliad, Book 6 - Book 9
20-245: Glaucus meets Diomedes. Note the long stories involved here, and the outcome of their meeting. Why did "Zeus take away Glaucus' good sense"? (line 243)
246-end. Hector is the chief Trojan hero, the counterpart of the Greek Achilles. But you should start to compare and contrast their attitudes. One way to start is to compare Hector's treatment of the women of Troy (Hecuba, Andromache) with Achilles' attitude toward Briseis in Book I.Book VIII
Notice the summary, page 56: "The Greeks build a wall and a trench around their camp." With this wall, the Greek camp becomes a sort of city, that has to be defended: a counterpart to Troy. How does this structural change affect the thinking and behavior of the Greek soldiers?Book IX
Just after reading Andromache's account of the death of her father Eetion and her seven brothers (6.435ff.) we meet Achilles playing a lyre taken from Eetion's town (9.192)--a typical moment in the Iliad, keeping us alert to one level of action (the harshness of war) while the surface of the book deals with another topic (the honor of Achilles).
In this section, three Greek heroes speak to Achilles: Odysseus, Phoenix, Ajax. Their speeches prompt different responses from Achilles:
Why does he tell Odysseus "I hate like hell/ The man who says one thing and thinks another" (9.317-8), and what do the following lines tell us about his attitude to heroism? Can you explain why Achilles was so angry about losing a single woman, but now turns down the countless gifts he's offered for returning to battle?
Try comparing Phoenix' life story (9.461ff.) and the story of Meleager (9.544ff) to the Bellerophon story, 6.158ff. These "background stories" are woven into the fabric of the epic, constantly complicating its meaning and forcing us to consider a variety of human (usually male) activities at once.
What is the name of Meleager's wife? What is the name of Achilles' companion?
As we can see from Achilles' replies, each speech moves him in a different way. Ajax' speech is the shortest--and the most effective! What is it in this speech that so touches Achilles? Even Ajax, though, fails to bring an immediate end to Achilles' retirement: he will not fight until "Hector / Comes to the Myrmidons' ships and huts / Killing Greeks ..." (9.674ff.) These lines are worth remembering....
Words and Names to Remember: