Free Book Review About Epithets:
Type of paper: Book Review
Topic: Achilles, The Odyssey, Body, Literature, Books, Death, Ghost, Pets
The excerpt from Book 23, lines 41-220 do portray notions of life, death, war, family, and Gods in Greek life. It begins with Achilles mourning the death of his childhood friend, Patroclus and claiming that he killed Hector in his honor. This was followed by a giant feast, after which Achilles attempted to rest only to be haunted by Patroculus’ ghost. The ghost asked that he be buried so that he could pass over and also warned that Achilles would be killed in Troy. Achilles commanded that a grave of sorts be constructed out of timber on the beach to lay Petroclus to rest. Many gifts were added to the grave and Achilles swore that Hector would be destroyed by Wild dogs. However, the Gods intervened and stopped Achilles from destroying Hector’s body as he so wished.
In Book 23, lines 80-90, Funeral Games for Patroculus, Achilles is visited by Patroculus’ ghost, pleading him to allow his body to be buried so that he may be able to pass the Gates of Hades. He claims he is forced to mingle with all the other lost souls, wandering around the House of Death. He promises that he will never return again once he has been giving the “soothing rites of fire.”
There are great efforts made to properly bury a warrior. The men here “covered his whole body deep with locks of hair they cut and cast upon him,” (Book 23, Lines 155-156). The men built a great pyre of endless amounts of chopped timber. While most of the soldiers began to prepare for battle, the leading captains remained behind to mourn. “Droves of fat sheep and shambling crook-horned cattle they led before the pyre, skinned and dressed them well. And the greathearted Achilleswrapped the corpse with folds of it, head to foot, then heaped the flayed carcasses round Patroclus (Book 23, Lines 190-194). Achilles added some additional gifts and swore Hector he would not be granted the same funeral, but rather devoured by wild dogs, before lighting fire to the pyre. Here we see that the Greeks believed in an afterlife, and that particular rituals needed to be performed on Earth before they could pass over. A pyre must be constructed and the body should be covered in hair and meat carcasses before being placing in the pyre. Additional gifts are then placed alongside the body before the entire pyre is set ablaze. Tremendous care is taken to preserve the afterlife of the warriors. This proves how much hatred Achilles has for Hector as he wishes his body to torn apart by wild dogs.
In Book 23, Lines 214-220, we see the influence of Gods in Greek life. Aphrodite, Zeus’ daughter covered Hector’s body with oil to stop his skin from tearing. Phoebus Apollo covered the sky above Hector’s body with a dark cloud to stop the harsh sun from burning his flesh.
Book 23, Line 44: “Warlord” (the warlord’s tents)- Achilles
Book 23, Line 162: “great runner”- Achilles