The Quoted Passage From Book Twenty One Of The Iliad Essay

840 Words Oct 20th, 2015 4 Pages
The quoted passage from Book Twenty-one of The Iliad is an excerpt of Achilles’ speech in rejection to Trojan prince Lykaon’s plea for life when he has finally resumed in the war. In this passage, Achilles contrasts the former and present way in which he treats the Trojans and states the reason of his change. By doing a close-reading of this passage, I hope to address the major shift in Achilles’ outlook on fate and death that is reflected in his change of attitude towards the Trojans. The first six lines really stand out in illustrating the significance of Patroklos’ death for it marks both Achilles’ return to battle and the change in his treatment of the enemies from “it was the way of my heart’s choice to be sparing of the Trojans” to “now that there is not one who can escape death.”(21.102-104). The use of the word “destiny” (21.100) in the first line indicates that Achilles understand that it is fate, or something beyond human control, that strikes Patroklos by chance and takes his life, just like it does to every other soldier who dies in battle. He also describes the way destiny functions in the last four lines, highlighting its randomness and inevitability using the word “strong” (21.110) and “a dawn or an afternoon or a noontime”, “some man”, “either with a spearcast or an arrow” (21.111-113) However, Achilles doesn’t take any solace in accusing fate; quite the contrary, Achilles blames himself for Patroklos’ death and decides to resume fighting, knowing…

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