DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU CAN SEE
THIS MAGNIFICENT VASE IN THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM GREEK
Book 11: NARRATIVE NOOSE
Part I: 11.1-594 on the battlefield
Observe the narrator's strategy in a series of
*aristeiai in which the leading Greek heroes fight
brilliantly, but are finally wounded and carried off the
*Aristeiai is the plural of aristeia; look
this word up in your glossary if you do not know its meaning (you
will probably see it on a quiz or exam!)
11.122-42--observe the narrative pattern in which someone
offers ransom in exchange for life, but the ransom is rejected in
favor of exacting recompense, or revenge, for a wrong. Compare
Agamemnon's words to Peisandros and Hippolochos (that they must
pay for their father's outrage) to Achilleus' message to Agamemnon
in Book 9 (that he must pay for all his outrage).
Following Agamemnon, we see DIOMEDES, ODYSSEUS, and finally
AIAS come to the front ranks. AIAS, remember, is the bulwark of
the Achaeans, their best defensive fighter; his appearance signals
that the tide of battle is turning against the Greeks.
Part II: 11.595-847 in the Greek camp
11.598-614--Achilleus sees Nestor coming in and sends
Patroklos to Nestor, ostensibly to find out who has been wounded.
Achilleus hopes that the rout will cause the Achaeans to send
Although Achilleus had sent Patroklos to Nestor in hopes
that Nestor would plant an idea in Agamemnon's mind, Nestor
instead plants an idea in Patroklos' mind and sends him back to
Book 16: THE WILL OF ZEUS
The book opens with Patroklos arriving at Achilleus' hut;
as they speak, fire is cast onto one of the Greek ships.
The conditions have been partially met for Achilleus to
return to battle (see Book 9!); if he comes back now Agamemnon
might not make good on his presents, but if he doesn't, the ships
could be burned and Achilleus would lose everything.
Achilleus' strategy: send Patroklos into battle to give the
Greeks breathing room and create an opportunity for Agamemnon to
make a formal presentation of the gifts. Note carefully the
warnings that Achilleus gives to Patroklos!!
16.230-252--Achilleus' prayer is touching, but ironic. He
assumes that his will and Zeus' will are the same. . . but in fact
the two plans will diverge sharply on the matter of Patroklos.
When Patroklos puts on the divine armor, he forgets himself
and Achilleus' warnings. He lunges at the wall of Troy 'like a
god'. What has happened to the Patroklos we 'knew' from earlier in
16.783-867--the narrator gives Hektor no honor in the death
of Patroklos: Patroklos is attacked first by Apollo (note the
symbolism of Achilleus' helmet being fouled in the dust!), then by
Euphorbus, and is only 'finished off' by Hektor.