Iliad: Book 16-20

Book 16--"Patroclus Fights and Dies"

In Book 16, the contrast between Achilles and Agamemnon continues.

--Achilles tests his troops: Bk 16, 243-248

--Achilles and Ritual and Prayer--Bk 16, 260-293.

--The Death of Sarpedon: his speech underlines the tragic pattern in the Iliad, (compare this speech to the dialogue between Achilles and his horses).

--The intense fighting for the corpse, page 431, foreshadows the long struggle for Patroclus's body in Book 17.

--Apollo speaks to Patroclus: Bk 16, 819-827

--Patroclus's dying words to Hector: Bk 16, 985-1000

Book 17--"Menelaus' Finest Hour"

--Hector seizes Achilles's armor: Bk 17, 139-140 and 221-224

--The struggle intensifies over Patroclus's body: Bk 17, 444-447 and 448-460. Look at the image--extended simile--Homer uses to depict the struggle for the body. What's the effect? (check question 6 in study questions)

6. The simile does more than establish a likeness between A and B, it goes on--an extended simile--to describe B in detail, and some of the details are not like A at all. Yet Homer suggests points of comparison below the surface (if you will) that make comments on the broader aspects of each situation and war in general. Chose an extended simile and discuss its function in the poem.

--Description of Patroclus's character: Bk 17, 754-757

Book 18--"The Shield of Achilles"

--symbolic death of Achilles: Bk 18, 28. "Achilles lay there, fallen . . ."

--Achilles and Thetis converse: Bk 18, 94-97 and 110-112

--Do you think Achilles regrets his behavior?

--The Shield: Bk 18, 558-709.

Book 19--"The Champion Arms for Battle"

This book contains the assembly where Agamemnon and Achilles reconcile their differences. Consider how much each man "sees" his responsibility in the annihilation that has resulted from their quarrel. Compare their attitudes to the consciousness of Helen.

--Achilles says that it would have been better if the woman Briseis would have been killed "with one quick shaft."

--Agamemnon's reasoning about his part in the quarrel: Book 19, 100-104.

--Achilles's current attitude towards the gifts that were so important to his honor before: Bk 19, 177-180

--Odysseus's makes a speech: Bk 19, 185--219. Odysseus makes a case that an army,"travels on its stomach."

--Achilles attitude toward food: Bk 19, 254-55. What kind of bonds are formed or confirmed through feasting? What does this scene tell us about Achilles at this point in the poem?

--Achilles speaks with his horses: Bk 19, 478-502. How does Achilles's dialogue with the immortal horses underline the tragic pattern of the Iliad?

Book 20--"Olympian Gods in Arms"

--Zeus fears Achilles's power: Book 20, 36

--Armageddon imagery: Book 20, 77-80

--Achilles's menis: Book 20, 554-5