CS1 A1 and D


2Achilles dragging Hektor's body behind his chariot

The Death of Heroes (2)

Iliad 22

Book 19

Achilleus re-enters the war; Agamemnon offers ransom again, this time publicly; Achilles brushes it aside

Book 20

The gods re-enter the war; comedy of battles between gods set against the tragic backdrop of human suffering

Book 21

Achilleus fights the river Scamandros--elemental nature against pure wrath; primal chaos threatens

Book 22


Pay particular attention to Apollo's taunt: "You son of Peleus!" Achilleus' aristeia is overshadowed by his mortality.

22.38-76 and 82-89

Priam calls Hektor to defend the city from within the walls and Hekabe bears her breast and makes a plea on behalf of the family (the oikos), but we already know that heroism is destructive of familial society.

  • Remember the several loyalties that come into conflict in the lives of our heroes:
    • competition for timê (honor);
    • one's own comrades and allies, or hetairoi;
    • one's family (oikos);
    • one's city (polis)
    • and one's foreign friends (xenoi)


Achilleus pursues Hektor around the walls of Troy; they are two men running "for the life of Hektor the breaker of horses", but their race is also a symbolic funeral procession for Troy. The death of Hektor is the death-knell of Troy. Achilleus is power, wrath, and revenge; at this moment, he knows no limits.

22.214-46 and 276-77

Athena helps Achilleus by deceiving Hektor into turning and standing up to him.

22.338-43 and 345-54

Once the death blow has been dealt, Achilleus has the revenge he had sought. Now Hektor offers him ransom for his corpse and Achilleus has a chance to take BOTH ransom and revenge. He turns it down and wishes instead he could eat Hektor raw. What is happening to Achilleus (note the alimentary code)? Why is this a threat?

A question to take into Book 24: How do you bring a hero back inside the limits and preserve the human community?

Click here to see another image of Achilleus dragging Hektor behind his chariot.