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Last Updated on August 6, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 550

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I rose and rubbed my limbs, slapped them awake, trying to ward off a rising hysteria. This is what it will be, every day, without him. I felt a wild-eyed tightness in my chest, like a scream. Every day, without him.

Patroclus knows that, according to a prophecy, Achilles is fated to die in the Trojan War. He does not know when or how Achilles will die, which adds to his panic at the thought of losing him. His words indicate the deep love they share, and the fact that Achilles's death would devastate him. This is an example of Madeleine Miller's dramatic irony, as Patroclus's death happens before Achilles's.

When he speaks at last, his voice is weary, and defeated. He doesn’t know how to be angry with me, either. We are like damp wood that won’t light.

Patroclus had asked Achilles to claim Briseis as a prize in order to save her from being raped by Agamemnon. This plan is part of a larger objective to save as many young women as possible from Agamemnon and his army, until Achilles gets a reputation for insatiable lust (though he touches none of these women). As a result, Achilles is upset because his honor and reputation are very important to him. Achilles rescuing Briseis is the precursor to the deep friendship between himself, Patroclus, and Briseis. The metaphor conveying Achilles's inability to express anger toward Patroclus conveys their tender and loving relationship; although Achilles is legendary for violence in battle, he is unable to be angry with his lover.

Achilles smiles as his face strikes the earth.

Patroclus watches as Achilles dies from the arrow Paris shoots into his heart. Achilles's death is ironic, in that Paris was the deciding factor that began the Trojan War, and Achilles is the formidable fighting force that contributes to the Greeks winning the war. Achilles smiles because in death he will be reunited with Patroclus, and it is a relief that he will no longer have to bear life without his lover.

“I have done it,” she says. At first I do not understand. But then I see the tomb, and the marks she has made on the stone. ACHILLES, it reads. And beside it, PATROCLUS.
“Go,” she says. “He waits for you.”

Since his death, Patroclus's spirit has remained in between worlds because his name was not put on his shared grave with Achilles. He begs Thetis to add his name to the grave, and her compassion leads her to add his name to the tomb. This passage demonstrates that Patroclus and Thetis finally move past the conflict they have experienced throughout the novel, united by their intense love for Achilles. Here, Thetis is telling Patroclus that he can now join her son in the afterlife.

We are all there, goddess and mortal and the boy who was both.

Patroclus experiences a rush of memories after Achilles's death. The goddess he refers to is Thetis, Achilles's mother the sea nymph; the mortal is himself; and the boy is Achilles, born from Thetis and the mortal king Peleus. All that is left of Achilles life is the grave he shares with Patroclus, that which Patroclus' spirit and Thetis are looking at. Within the stone the three are together through his memories.

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