Reading Questions: Iliad 22, 23, 24 N.B. Tritogeneia is an epithet of Athena of uncertain origin. [Book 22] 1. Why does Hector decide to face Achilles despite insurmountable odds? Isn’t this a foolish move considering how much depends on him as a warrior and defender of the city? What other option does Hector consider besides fighting, and why does he reject this? What seems to be the point of the chase scene? NB the metaphor of the race for which Hector’s life is the prize. 2. What kind of concession does Hector ask from Achilles before the fight? Why does Achilles reject it? Is his reasoning perhaps more faithful to the true nature of war? What do you think of Achilles’ refusal to acquiesce to Hector’s request right after he mortally wounds him? How is his response similar to the other examples (e.g. in book 9) of his intransigence? NB how Hector’s final words foreshadow Achilles’ own death.  3. What does Achilles (and what do we) learn from the shade of Patroklos that appears in a dream? What sort of mourning rites do the Myrmidons undertake, and how do these prefigure Achilles’ own death? 4. What place do the funeral games have in the poem? What is the overall narrative effect of having the games immediately after the death of Hector and the funeral of Patroklos? What do we learn about the warriors’ customs from the games? What do we learn from book 23 about the limits of competitiveness? 5. What kind of role does Achilles play as MC and umpire of the games? Is his conciliatory attitude here surprising to you? What does his attempt to award 2nd place to Eumelos in the chariot race tell you about the strength of the warriors’ honor code? How is it that the disputes in the games (such as that that arises between Menelaos and Antilochos) are so easily resolved rather than turning into damaging grudges? 6. What is the value of even having a prize for last place? How does Achilles show the value of an old man like Nestor to the system in the award he gives him?  7. The gods, especially Zeus, protect Hector’s body from damage. What is the primary reason for the love they show him? 8. Is Achilles’ quick obedience to Zeus’ order surprising? Is it perhaps subtly insubordinate? To wit: who is the “he” of 24.139? 9. Why, besides the injunction of Zeus, is Achilles willing to give up the body of Hector? Is there something heroic and courageous about Priam’s mission and his utter self-abasement before his sons’ killer? How does their encounter echo the encounter between Agamemnon and the priest in book 1? What is different this time? 10. In the end, Achilles listens to the gods and to Priam and gives back the body in exchange for great treasure. What, if anything, has he learned—and how has he been transformed—by the experience? What does the audience learn? Does the poem ultimately reinforce or undermine the warriors’ code and the system of justice that pervade it?