What happens to Paris at the end of the Iliad?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Paris is one of the most conflicted and complex characters in Homer's Iliad. He is directly responsible for the Trojan War, in his theft of Helen from King Menelaus, along with several treasures, and is ultimately seen as cowardly and weak by his father, brother, and his own people.

In the Iliad, Paris tries to take responsibility for his actions, challenging Menelaus to a duel for the end of the war or the return of Helen. He is unable to follow through, however, and survives only because he is rescued by Aphrodite. Later, he fulfills his part in the prophecies by killing Achilles with an arrow. Finally, in an ironic echo to Paris's only great skill -- archery -- he is himself mortally poisoned by an arrow shot by Philoctetes, a Greek archer. This death does not actually appear in the Iliad, but is referred to in tradition; his death is a consequence of his own arrogance and despite his half-hearted attempts at fixing the problems he caused, his death itself brings about more deaths in its wake: those of Oenone, his former lover, who throws herself on his funeral; and his brother Deiphobus, who is killed by Menelaus when he returns to retrieve Helen.

Paris's last actual appearence in the Iliad is at the rebuke by his father, Priam, who calls Paris and his brothers:

"...worthless sons who do me shame; would that you had all been killed at the ships rather than Hector."

He is not mentioned by name again.

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