Book 18 Summary

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Last Updated February 28, 2023.

Achilles is consumed with grief when Antilochos brings him news of Patroclus’s death. He falls to his knees and pours dust and ashes over his head. Thetis hears her son's cries and goes to comfort him, telling him that Hector must pay for the death of Patroclus but also warning him that Hector’s death will herald his own. Despite her warning, Achilles vows to enter the fray. However, Hector has his armor, and he cannot enter the battle unarmed. Thetis agrees to have a new set made by Hephaestus in Olympus. 

Polydamas again advises Hector not to fight, as they are outnumbered. Instead, they should retreat within city walls where it would be easier to defend themselves against an attack from Achilles. Yet again, this advice is rejected by the Trojan council members, who decide to continue fighting throughout the night.

Achilles swears revenge for Patroclus's death and vows not to bury the body until he recaptures his armor, takes Hector's head, and cuts the throats of twelve Trojan children in return. Thetis convinces Hephaestus to craft new armor for her son, which includes a shield depicting scenes of war and peace, breastplate, helmet, and set of greaves. With the new armor in hand, Thetis hurries from Olympus to bring them to her son.

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