Homer’s Iliad: Analysis of a Passage Part Three

Part three of an analysis of the passage from Homer’s Iliad where Iris and Achilles have a discussion and Achilles decides to finally join the fighting.

Homer’s Iliad: Analysis of a Passage Part One

Homer’s Iliad: Analysis of a Passage Part Two

Once Achilles finally made his way to the ditch, the more descriptive section of the passage began. It went on to describe Achilles’ appearance, stating, “about his head circles a golden cloud and kindled from it a flame far-shining”. Since the scene was taking place at sunset, it seemed more plausible that Achilles was simply standing while the sun shined brightly behind him, but this aura could have also been seen in other ways. The shining light could have been viewed as a sign that the gods were behind him. A golden cloud that circled his head seemed to fit the description of a halo. This divine symbol would have made it clear to the Trojans that Achilles was sent by the gods to help the Achaeans. This golden cloud and far-shining flame could have also been taken as the manifestation of Achilles’ rage. At that instance, Achilles’ rage was finally being shifted from Agamemnon and onto Hektor. Therefore, Achilles’ rage was being seen for the first time on the battlefield by the Trojans.

The passage then continued on to describe the intensity with which the far-shining flame kindled through the use of a simile. The simile said that the flame kindled “as when a flare goes up into the high air from a city from an island far away…” Any flame that could have been seen from that far away would have had to be very bright and burn hot. The far-shining flame could have then be thought of as

Achilles then finally began shouting from the ditch which declared his intent to enter the battle. “There he stood, and shouted, and from her place Pallas Athene gave cry, and drove terror upon the Trojans.” Achilles’ cry was then followed by the simile, “As loud as comes the voice that screams out by a trumpet by murderous attackers who beleaguer a city.” Achilles did not just walk up to the ditch and yell. He shouted as loud as a trumpet, signaling an imminent attack and the Trojans were overrun with terror.

Homer’s Iliad: Analysis of a Passage Part Four

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