The Iliad
Contributed by Joslyn Justiniano
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Epic Poetry
About the Title

One of the well-known Homeric epics alongside “The Odyssey,” the narrative of “The Iliad” focuses on a conflict of interests among various factions of gods which is mirrored by the intense conflict and intrigue between Greek and Trojan armies. A complex number of characters, familial and political interests, and personal motivations drive several parts of “The Iliad,” with revenge as one of the final themes. While the interests of multiple empires and gods overlap, they all hinge on the pretense of action by Achilles, whose indifference towards the Greeks losses due to his falling out with King Agamemnon tilts the war in the favor of the Trojans. When Achilles discovers body of one of his close friends, Patroclus, was slain by the Trojan hero Hector, he reconciles with Agamemnon and sets out on what essentially becomes a one-man cleanup effort of the Trojan army (possible due to his gift of near invincibility). At one point, Achilles kills so many Trojans that he gets into a brief dispute with Xanthus, the river god, for polluting the rivers with so many dead bodies. In the end, Achilles corners Hector, defeats him, and then disgraces his body to avenge his fallen friend. Imagine John Wick from the Hollywood blockbuster, except he only takes damage if he’s shot in the back of his heel; also, he’s a Greek hero some thousands of years in the past. That picture paints the essence of this epic.

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