Iliad Questions and Answers
by Homer

Iliad book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What was Achilles's reaction to Patroclus's death in the Iliad?

Expert Answers info

Margaret Mccarney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2013

write338 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Homer's Iliad opens with thematic lines:

Anger be now my song, immortal one,

Akhileus' anger, doomed and ruinous,

That causes the Akhaians loss on bitter loss

And crowded brave souls into the undergloom,

Leaving so many dead men—carriot

For dogs and birds; and the will of Zeus was done.

These opening lines speak not of any anger Achilles felt at the outset of the Trojan War but of the fierce anger he displays when his beloved friend and companion Patroclus dies. Achilles reluctantly allowed Patroclus to return to battle wearing Achilles's armor, with a strict command not to pursue the Trojans but to only beat them back a leader of the Myrmidons.

Patroclus ignores Achilles instructions and follows Hector as the Greeks beat the Trojans back. Hector, thinking he was encountering Achilles, ends up killing Patroclus. When he discovers he has killed the wrong man, Hector seems to glory over Achilles, suggesting that Achilles was not powerful enough to protect Patroclus (Book 16).

Achilles's grief at...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 956 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write11,141 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

sean475 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write61 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Law and Politics, and History

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

bmadnick eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2007

write1,334 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write35,413 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial