Iliad Summary

Overview

Summary
Chryses, a priest of Apollo, journeys to the Achaian camp to request the return of his daughter Chryseis. Chryseis had been captured in a Greek siege and given to Agamemnon as a war prize. Chryses has brought many gifts as ransom for his daughter, but Agamemnon refuses to accept them and sends Chryses away. Apollo then revenges the ill treatment shown to his priest by sending a plague to the Greeks. The plague claims many lives, and a counsel is held to determine how to stop it. Through the advice of a seer, the Greeks agree that the return of Chryses is the only way to stop the plague from taking even more lives. Agamemnon, however, does not give up his prize willingly, and insists that he must have another man’s prize in exchange. He demands Briseis, the woman given to Achilleus in the same siege. Achilleus is so angry with Agamemnon for taking Briseis that he immediately withdraws himself and his troops from the fighting with Troy. He also asks his mother, the goddess Thetis, to plead with Zeus to help him avenge the wrong. Zeus agrees to assist the Trojans in their attack on the Achaians, thus showing Agamemnon that Achilleus is a great man, who would be necessary to succeed in battle.

Agamemnon gathers the rest of his army for a massive attack against the Trojans. The first day of battle opens with a duel between Paris and Menelaos, and a truce among the rest of the armies. After the duel, which ends with Paris being taken out of the battle by Aphrodite, the truce is broken by Pandaros, the Trojan, and the two armies engage in bitter fighting. At the end of the day, there is another duel, this time between Aias and Hektor, which is broken up before its end. The two sides retreat, and the Achaians build a wall around their encampment to protect their position and their ships.

When fighting resumes, Zeus pushes the Trojans to great triumph over the Achaians, and their victory seems certain. At this point, Agamemnon calls his leaders together and admits he was at fault in taking Briseis from Achilleus. He agrees to return her, along with a great deal of treasure and a sworn oath that he has not slept with her, if Achilleus will come back and fight with the Achaians. The message is brought to Achilleus by his good friends Odysseus, Aias, and Phoinix. Achilleus greets his friends warmly, but refuses to make peace with Agamemnon.

The next day the fighting resumes, and the Achaians fight well. However, over the span of the day, most of the best men are injured and taken out of the fight. These include Agamemnon, Diomedes, Odysseus, Eurypylos, and Machaon. The only remaining champion of the Achaians is Aias. Hektor then leads a strong drive by the Trojans, and they manage to break through the Achaian wall and fight all the way to the ships. As the Trojans attempt to set fire to the Achaian ships, the gods intervene and rescue the Achaians from almost certain destruction. At this point, Achilleus and his companion Patroklos become fearful for the fate of the Achaian army. While Achilleus still refuses to fight, he sends Patroklos out to the field in his own armor with a contingent of men to save the ships.

Because Patroklos and his army are rested and fresh, they easily drive the weary Trojans back to the city wall. Patroklos fights bravely and performs many courageous acts, but he pushes his luck and is eventually killed by Hektor. Hektor takes the famous armor of Achilleus from Patroklos, and a fierce battle is fought over his body. The Achaians manage to retrieve the body of Patroklos, but the battle has turned to the Trojan’s favor, and the Achaians retreat.

When Achilleus hears the news of his companion’s death, he is mad with rage against Hektor, but cannot rush into the battle without his armor. However, the gods transfigure him and when he shows himself on the battlefield the Trojans pull back and the Achaians escape. His mother Thetis acquires immortal armor from the god Hephaistos, and Achilleus announces to the assembled Achaians the end of his quarrel with Agamemnon. The next day the Achaians, mostly through the exploits of Achilleus, are able to drive the Trojans back inside their city walls. Hektor, however, refuses to go inside, promising to encounter Achilleus directly instead. His courage fails at the last minute and Achilleus pursues Hektor twice around the city walls. Hektor’s flight is finally halted through the trickery of Athene, and the two men duel. Hektor is killed and his body is dragged by the ankles behind Achilleus’ chariot back to the Achaian camp.

Achilleus then holds funeral games for Patroklos, giving many great prizes to the victors. Patroklos’ body is mourned and burned in a great pyre. In his grief over his friend, Achilleus has been dishonoring the body of Hektor, but the gods have kept it from mutilation. Priam is secretly guided by the gods to Achilleus to request his son’s body in exchange for a great ransom. Achilleus has pity on him, and returns the body. The Trojans then bury Hektor.

Estimated Reading Time

Allow an hour or slightly more to read each chapter, or book. There are a total of 24 books in the Iliad, totaling roughly 24-26 hours of reading time. Note: These eNotes are based on the 1951 Richmond Lattimore translation of the Iliad.

Iliad Summary (Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Though the myths describe the Trojan War as a thirty-year cycle of preparations, conflict, and homecomings, the chronological period that the Iliad covers is actually quite restricted, not more than ninety days in the final year of fighting. Despite its focus on the quarrel of only two of its warriors, both of them Greek, Homer nevertheless conveys the full range of human emotions that prevails in war, even as he provides a vivid portrait of Mycenaean culture. The result is that his Iliad, bold and all-encompassing though it is, remains essentially quite limited; that is undoubtedly one of the most distinctive features of Homer’s epic. Homer makes the limits of his intentions clear from the outset. His invocation to Caliope, the Muse of epic, specifies that he will sing of Achilles’ anger.

Obviously, the anger of Achilles operates on several levels and has far-reaching consequences. On the personal level, it refers to the quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon for possession of Briseis, a young woman originally given to Achilles by the Achaeans as his prize of honor. Agamemnon, too, had a captive mistress, Chryseis; yet, she was the daughter of a priest of Apollo named Chryses. When Agamemnon haughtily refuses to return Chryseis to her father, Chryses invokes Apollo himself, who sends a plague upon the Achaeans. Once he realizes that the army will be decimated by disease if he takes no action, Agamemnon returns Chryseis to her father, though he simultaneously demands that Achilles surrender Briseis to him as her replacement. Agamemnon fears that the Achaeans will consider him weak if he does not enforce his will upon Achilles in this way, yet the reader perceives only Agamemnon’s pettiness and insecurity.

Achilles reviles Agamemnon in the agora (assembly) of leaders, yet he surrenders Briseis to him without active resistance. More significantly, Achilles announces his intentions to withdraw his Myrmidons from battle and return with them to Phthia, their home in southern Thessaly. These dramatic announcements made, Achilles throws down the skeptron (staff), which gives him the uncontested right to speak, and dashes from the agora. This extraordinary behavior at the least implies weakness and apparently cowardice. It seems to complement the pettiness of Agamemnon, but there are clearly other reasons for Achilles’ actions.

Thetis, the goddess-mother of Achilles, subsequently appears to comfort her son, who is all too aware of how the Achaeans could interpret his sudden withdrawal and threat to return home. She reviews the alternatives that moira (fate) has assigned to him: either to slay Hector, the first of the Trojan warriors, and to be killed at Troy soon thereafter or to live a long and undistinguished life in Phthia, dying there of old age. Achilles well knows these alternatives. His withdrawal, which extends from Iliad 1 to Iliad 22, represents an essential pause to consider these alternatives at a crucial juncture of his life. Worth noting is the fact that Achilles undertakes no preparations to return home; also, although the war initially goes badly for the Achaeans, to the extent that Agamemnon offers Achilles an impressive series of gifts (including restoration of Briseis) for his return, Achilles’ prolonged absence makes relatively little difference overall.

Agamemnon’s embassy to secure Achilles’ return contains elements of magnanimity and self-interest. Significantly, Agamemnon does not personally entreat Achilles. Instead, he enlists the cunning Odysseus and Diomedes (who would together devise the stratagem of the wooden horse), as well as Achilles’ old tutor Phoenix. The appeal thus emerges through a combination of clever argument and sage advice, and the collection of gifts (listed in catalog form) is calculated both to impress the Achaeans with Agamemnon’s megalapsyché (great-heartedness, generosity), as much as it is to force Achilles to make his decision. That is one of several places in which the humanity of the poem emerges. Achilles’ concern for his old tutor, seen in his insistence that Phoenix remain overnight rather than attempt to return immediately, shows that he values privileged relationships such as master and student. It has its counterpart in Achilles’ relationship to Patroclus, his young protégé in the art of war. This relationship, severed by Patroclus’s death, will ultimately provide the impetus that Achilles needs to accept the short but glorious life that moira has offered him.

In one sense, all the characters of the Iliad recognize the inevitability of moira yet remain essentially powerless to change it. The tears of Achilles that precede his mother’s appearance are an indication of this human frailty, but so is Hector’s meeting with his wife, Andromache, and their infant son, Astyanax. In Iliad 6, long before Achilles returns to battle, the Achaeans have advanced to the very walls of Troy. Hector, the bravest of the Trojan warriors, searches for Alexandrus (Paris), whose theft of Helen had been the immediate cause of the war, and finds him in Helen’s rooms. His reproaches make Alexandrus recognize his obligations, and Alexandrus takes up his arms to defend the city, but the primary contrast is clear. Andromache recognizes and regretfully accepts the likelihood of her husband’s death in battle, but Helen belittles Alexandrus as a sensualist willing to allow others to fight for him. Andromache’s fears for Hector correspond to those of the child, Astyanax, who does not recognize his father because of the helmet that he wears. When Hector removes the helmet, the child accepts his father’s embrace, and the couple laughs. There, then, is a contrast between pure love and simple sensual attraction as well as between responsibility and weakness.

Even the deities of Olympus display the flaws of their human counterparts. They, too, remain tied to moira and are essentially powerless to change it. They, too, govern by agorai, and these assemblies inevitably end as inconclusively as those of the human warriors below. The gods and goddesses have taken sides in the war, but these reflect their previous personal antagonisms rather than their concern with humanity. Thetis, for example, does intercede with Zeus for her son Achilles but is aware that doing so will necessarily provoke the jealousy of Hera, Zeus’s wife. She must also know that any favor that Zeus grants to Achilles would necessarily be in the context of glory on the battlefield. Ironically, any such benefaction would necessarily hasten her son’s death. Just as Agamemnon prevails in the human order, so does Zeus in the divine; yet neither appears able to take meaningful and decisive actions that affect outcomes. The power of both is limited to immediate actions and short-term results.

The peculiar powerlessness of Zeus emerges clearly in the Sarpedon episode, Iliad 16. At this point, Patroclus has received Achilles’ permission to reenter battle wearing his master’s armor. Patroclus experiences his aristeia (moment of glory), a series of combats in which he defeats one opponent after another. Sarpedon, a beautiful boy loved by Zeus, is one of those whom moira has determined that Patroclus will defeat. Zeus raises the scales of moira, watches Sarpedon’s weight descend, and realizes that he must accept the young man’s death. His resignation to moira parallels that of Andromache, even as it underscores the similarity of mortals and immortals.

Though Achilles allows his protégé, Patroclus, to enter battle, he himself remains apart. Patroclus is effectively Achilles’ surrogate, however, and his appearance in his master’s armor emphasizes this relationship. So devastating is the effect of his presence that the Trojans at first believe Achilles has returned. In one sense that is true, for Patroclus looks very much like Achilles, and the aristeia that he enjoys is equivalent to any that his master could have enjoyed. It is also true that once Patroclus has entered battle, the moira of Achilles is sealed, for the lives of master and student are tied by the bonds of friendship and obligation. Patroclus dies at the hands of Hector, and while Hector succeeds in claiming the armor of Achilles, the body of Patroclus remains with the Greeks. The announcement of Patroclus’s death sends Achilles into a threnody and leads to his construction of an extravagant pyre for the corpse. This development provides the opportunity for another catalog listing the offerings that formed the pyre. Averse as human sacrifice was to Greek sensibilities, the pyre includes young Trojans captured in battle.

Achilles now recognizes that his obligations to Patroclus have forced his return, but he has no armor worthy of the event. Thetis intervenes again, this time to secure armor crafted by the artisan deity Hephaestus, and once again Thetis’s intervention hastens her son’s moira. In effect, the alternatives that had existed in Iliad 1 are no longer available. The period of intros2pection has ended, and Achilles reenters battle knowing that he will kill Hector but equally aware that his own death will follow soon after. When Achilles meets Hector in battle, he is, in effect, encountering an aspect of himself. Hector wears the armor of Achilles, and Achilles has donned the glorious new armor that his mother, Thetis, had secured for him. In killing Hector, especially because Homer has already portrayed that warrior’s character so sympathetically, Achilles eliminates his ties to the past and fully accepts the alternative of a short but glorious life. It is his true destiny and, like the armor provided by Thetis, the only moira that is appropriate for him.

The humanity that lies behind so much of the bravado in the Iliad emerges in the final scene of the poem. Old Priam, king of Troy, comes to Achilles to beg for the return of his son’s body. Even though Achilles realizes that Hector had been the immediate cause of his beloved Patroclus’s death and that Hector had forced Achilles to accept his own moira, he grants Priam’s request and declares a truce for ritual mourning and appropriate burial of the dead on both sides. The Iliad thus ends in a suspension, rather than a resolution, of events.

Iliad Summary

The Background of the Story
The goddess Eris (Discord) was not invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis...

(The entire section is 2150 words.)

Iliad Summary and Analysis

Book 1 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Achilleus: greatest warrior of the Achaian army

Agamemnon: head of the Achaian army against Troy

Chryses: priest whose daughter was abducted as a war prize by the Greeks

Chryseis: Theban woman given to Agamemnon as a war prize

Kalchas: seer who offers advice

Athene: goddess who restrains Achilleus from slaying Agamemnon

Nestor: old Achaian warrior who offers advice

Odysseus: one of Agamemnon’s counselors

Talthybios: herald and servant of Agamemnon

Eurybates: herald and servant of Agamemnon

Briseis: Theban woman given to Achilleus as a war prize

Patroklos: friend...

(The entire section is 1817 words.)

Book 2 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Thersites: obnoxious, insubordinate Achaian

Iris: messenger goddess sent by Zeus to warn Trojans of attack

Summary
Book Two opens with Zeus’ plan to aid Achilleus in his revenge. Zeus sends Agamemnon the message that the gods are now on the Achaian side, and that they will be victorious in their campaign against Troy. To convey the message, Zeus sends Dream in the form of Nestor.

Agamemnon wakes from his dream convinced that the Achaians will now defeat Troy. At the same time, Zeus sends his messenger Rumour among the armies to urge them on to battle. The armies are called together and Agamemnon tests them by telling them to give up...

(The entire section is 935 words.)

Book 3 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Alexandros (Paris): abductor of Helen and cause of the war; basically a coward

Aphrodite: Goddess of Love and mother of Aneas

Helen: wife of Menelaos and mistress of Paris

Priam: father of Paris and King of Troy

Idaios: herald who urges Priam to make a truce with Agamemnon

Antenor: accompanies Priam to make truce with Agamemnon

Summary
The Trojans and Achaians approach each other to do battle. As they prepare to fight, Alexandros (Paris) challenges the best of the Achaians to a duel. However, when Menelaos agrees to fight, Paris cowardly shrinks back into the ranks. Hektor derides Paris for causing...

(The entire section is 920 words.)

Books 4 and 5 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Pandaros: the Trojan who breaks the truce by shooting an arrow at Menelaos

Talthybios: herald of Menelaos who summons Machaon to heal Menelaos’ wound

Machaon: healer who treats Menelaos’ wound

Idomeneus: leader of the Cretan forces who pledges loyalty to Agamemnon

Diomedes: one of the strongest Achaian warriors

Stethenelos: companion of Diomedes

Ares: God of War who helps the Trojans

Antilochos: first Achaian to kill a Trojan warrior

Telamonian Aias: one of the strongest Achaian warriors

Antiphos: son of Priam and strong Trojan warrior

Hektor: son of Priam and leader of...

(The entire section is 931 words.)

Book 6 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Adrestos: a Trojan fighter who pleads with Menelaos to take him alive rather than kill him

Helenos: son of Priam who urges Hektor to gather the Trojan women to beseech Athene

Glaukos: Trojan warrior who exchanges a promise of friendship with Diomedes

Hekabe: Priam’s wife and Hector’s mother, who chooses her best robe as a gift to Athene

Theano: priestess of Athene who presents the gift with a prayer to the goddess

Andromache: Hektor’s wife who tries to convince him not to go back to the battle

Astyanax: Hektor’s infant son

Summary
Book Six continues on the same day of fighting, and...

(The entire section is 1109 words.)

Book 7 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Talthybios: Achaian herald who breaks up the duel

Poseidon: also called “Earthshaker”; the god of the sea

Summary
The Trojans are greatly encouraged as Hektor and Paris rush back to the battlefield. Athene is distressed at the destruction these two cause and she meets with Apollo. Together they decide to encourage Hektor to challenge an Achaian to a duel. This plan will give the rest of the warriors a reprieve from the fighting. They put the idea in Helenos’ head, and he brings the suggestion to Hektor.

Hektor holds back the Trojans, and they all sit down on the battlefield. Likewise, Agamemnon holds back the Achaians, and they...

(The entire section is 1049 words.)

Book 8 Summary and Analysis

New Character
Teukros: Achaian warrior who kills many Trojans

Summary
Book Eight opens with a fierce warning from Zeus. He promises dire consequences to any immortal who attempts to help either the Trojans or the Achaians. Athene asks permission to give advice to the Achaians without actually aiding them in battle, and Zeus agrees. Zeus then leaves for Mount Ida, where he will have a clear view of the battlefield and will be left in peace to survey the action.

Meanwhile, both armies prepare for battle, and the fighting begins again in earnest. At noon, Zeus takes out his golden scales and weighs the fates of the Trojans and the Achaians. The fate of the Achaians...

(The entire section is 679 words.)

Book 9 Summary and Analysis

New Character
Phoinix: old friend and teacher of Achilleus, sent to him with Agamemnon’s peace offer

Summary
As Book Nine opens, the Achaians are in a panic. Agamemnon calls an assembly and tearfully suggests fleeing in their ships. It is Diomedes who finally protests against this plan, chastising Agamemnon for cowardice. He succeeds in rallying the Achaians to go on with the fight. Nestor then stands and suggests that a guard be set up outside the wall to protect against a surprise attack, and that a feast be held for the elders as they decide their plan of action.

As the elders feast, Nestor points out that the present difficulty is a direct result of...

(The entire section is 655 words.)

Book 10 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Dolon: Trojan warrior who agrees to spy on the Achaians in return for treasure

Rhesos: King of the Thracians, killed on a spy mission by Diomedes

Summary
The seriousness of the Achaian situation keeps Agamemnon from sleeping. He rises and gathers the leaders of the Achaian forces together to discuss strategy. They decide to send spies into the Trojan camps to see what they can learn of the Trojan battle plans. Diomedes offers to go if he can bring a companion for security. Odysseus is chosen and they go, fully armed.

On the way, they encounter Dolon, a Trojan soldier sent out to spy on the Achaians. After...

(The entire section is 563 words.)

Book 11 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Machaon: wounded Achaian carried out of battle by Nestor

Eurypylos: wounded Achaian who asks Patroklos to tend his wound

Summary
As dawn breaks, the Achaians and Trojans arm for battle. Both sides fight fiercely, and the Achaians successfully break the Trojan line, forcing the enemy all the way back to the city walls. Then, however, the Trojans rally and soon Agamemnon is hit in the arm with a spear. He fights for a while, but eventually gives in to his wound and leaves the field. Shortly thereafter, Antenor shoots Diomedes through the foot with an arrow and he too is out of the battle. Then Odysseus is stabbed...

(The entire section is 671 words.)

Books 12 and 13 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Poulydamas: Trojan soldier who advises Hektor to leave horses and attack the wall on foot

Meriones: Achaian warrior who comes to Idomeneus to replace his broken spear

Summary
The Achaians are penned back by their ships and Hektor attempts to bring his army over the ditch in front of the wall. However, as the Trojan horses are afraid of the ditch, crossing with the chariots is deemed too difficult. The Trojans decide to leave their horses and attempt to break through the wall on foot.

As Hektor, Poulydamas, and their men prepare to cross the ditch, they see an omen. An eagle holding a live snake flies over, and the snake twists and bites...

(The entire section is 747 words.)

Books 14 and 15 Summary and Analysis

New Character
Thoas: advises the Achaians to retreat to their ships

Summary
Nestor leaves his hut to observe the battle and sees that the Trojans have broken through the Achaian wall. He soon encounters Diomedes, Odysseus, and Agamemnon, and they discuss strategy. Agamemnon proposes that they drag the ships into the sea and sail away under cover of darkness. He sees no point in fighting the Trojans when the gods are on their side. Odysseus chides him for his lack of courage. He points out that if the Achaians know they will retreat in their ships, they will lose the spirit for fighting and be destroyed on the battlefield before they reach the...

(The entire section is 802 words.)

Books 16 and 17 Summary and Analysis

New Character
Automedon: Achaian warrior who attempts to bring Achilleus’ horses into the battle

Summary
Patroklos brings the grim news that he has heard from Nestor to Achilleus, begging him to put aside his pride and fight to save the Achaians. Failing that, he asks to be allowed to borrow Achilleus’ armor and take the Myrmidon army into battle. Achilleus is not ready to forgive Agamemnon, but agrees to send Patroklos in his armor. He instructs Patroklos to come back after driving the Trojans from the ships, lest Achilleus should lose the glory of sacking Troy himself, or a god should come against Patroklos and bring him down.

Meanwhile, the Trojans have...

(The entire section is 946 words.)

Book 18 Summary and Analysis

Summary
Antilochos brings the news of Patroklos’ death to Achilleus, who is distraught with grief. He pours dust and ashes over his head and sprawls on the ground tearing at his hair. As everyone in the hut weeps for Patroklos, Achilleus utters a terrible cry of mourning. Thetis hears his cry and goes to comfort him. Achilleus tells his mother that Hektor must pay with his life for the death of Patroklos. His mother tells him that his own death is fated to follow directly after Hektor’s, but Achilleus will not be dissuaded. However, Achilleus no longer has his armor and cannot go into battle unarmed. Thetis agrees to have a new set of armor made by Hephaistos in Olympus, and instructs Achilleus to do...

(The entire section is 794 words.)

Book 19 Summary and Analysis

New Character
Xanthos: Achilleus’ horse, who prophesies his coming death

Summary
Thetis brings the new armor to Achilleus and finds him still weeping over the body of Patroklos. Achilleus takes his new armor and gathers the Achaians together. He announces that he is putting aside his anger toward Agamemnon and that he will now return to the battle. This news is greeted with joy by the Achaians. Agamemnon then answers Achilleus, acknowledging the folly of their quarrel and again offering the great gifts he had promised.

Achilleus is eager to do battle and urges the Achaians to ready themselves without delay. Odysseus points out...

(The entire section is 657 words.)

Books 20 and 21 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Asteropaios: Trojan warrior who faces Achilleus at the river’s edge

Aganor: Trojan who keeps Achilleus from taking Troy

Summary
As the Achaians and the Trojans arm themselves, Zeus calls the gods together in Olympos. Zeus orders the gods to enter the battle on whichever side they choose. He is afraid that Achilleus, in his anger, will overstep fate and storm the walls of Troy. The gods quickly join their favored sides as battle begins.

Aineias, spurred on by Apollo, challenges Achilleus. When the fierce duel approaches its destined conclusion, Poseidon fears for Aineias and rushes in to spirit the warrior away from the field. Though...

(The entire section is 940 words.)

Book 22 Summary and Analysis

New Character
Deiphobos: brother of Hektor, whose form Athene takes in fooling Hektor

Summary
As the other Trojans recover from the battle behind the city walls, Hektor remains alone outside the city to face Achilleus. Apollo then reveals himself. Achilleus is furious with the trick and moves quickly back to the city. Priam sees him coming and begs his son to reconsider and come inside the walls. His mother then adds her entreaties, but neither can convince him to give up his post. Hektor goes over his options. He can give up and go back into the city, where he will surely be blamed for the destruction of his people. He can put down his armor and meet Achilleus unarmed,...

(The entire section is 1114 words.)

Book 23 Summary and Analysis

Summary
The Achaians return to their ships, and Achilleus and the Myrmidons immediately resume their mourning of Patroklos. They drive their chariots around his body three times and defile the body of Hektor. Then they take off their armor and hold a great funeral feast. As Achilleus falls asleep on the beach, the ghost of Patroklos appears to him. The ghost admonishes him for not properly burying his body and thus preventing his spirit’s passage through the gates of Hades. He also requests that his bones and Achilleus’ be placed together in death as they were together in life.

In the morning men are sent to gather wood for the funeral pyre. Achilleus orders the Myrmidons to arm themselves,...

(The entire section is 799 words.)

Book 24 Summary and Analysis

Summary
Achilleus is so overwhelmed with grief for his friend that he cannot sleep. Each night he rises and ties Hektor’s body to his chariot, driving his horses around Patroklos’ tomb three times. Still, the gods protect the corpse, and it does not degenerate.

The gods begin to argue over the body of Hektor, some wanting to steal it away from Achilleus for proper burial, and some having no pity for the Trojan. Finally, Zeus tells Hera that Hektor, too, was dear to the gods. He sends Thetis to Achilleus to tell him that Zeus is enraged at his behavior and that he must return Hektor’s body to Priam.

Another messenger is sent to Priam, urging him to take great ransom to Achilleus...

(The entire section is 828 words.)