Your assignment is to prepare and submit a paper on discuss the theme of armor in books 16 & 18 of homer’s iliad. There are also some prophesies like the looming death of Achilles on killing Hektor, the Trojan warrior. Although the poem seems to tell a less complete tale of the Trojan War, it captures the most significant symbols and themes which can be inductively attributed to the whole war. The poem captures various motives, which are used to develop and inform the poem’s key themes. This paper discusses armor as a theme in books 16 and 18 with the view of its importance and the way it differentiates the two books. In book sixteen, Patroclus has vowed to stand no longer, and he requests Achilles to let him go and defend the Greek ships. In lines 52-55, Patroclus tells Achilles, “Let me moreover wear your armor. the Trojans may thus mistake me for you and quit the field, so that the hard-pressed sons of the Achaeans may have breathing time…” (book 16). At this moment, we see Achilles relenting and lending his armor, but he warns Patroclus against pursuing the Trojans to Troy. However, after killing Sarpedon, the mortal son of Zeus, Patroclus pursues Trojans against Achilles advice and gets to the gates of troy where Apollo himself stops him. Apollo and Euphorbos pursued Patroclus, and the battle is too fierce that Hektor kills him. In this case, armor is more than just a protective cover for Patroclus. Although the armor given to Patroclus belonged to a hero, it never portrayed Achilles’ heroic powers. Achilles warned Patroclus against pursuing Trojans, and he offered him authority to go and save the Greek ships. Achilles was categorical on this, and he warned in lines 89-93 that. “When you have driven the Trojans from the ships, come back again…do not fight the Trojans further in my absence, or you will rob me of glory that should be mine” (book 16). However, with all the supposed powers in Achilles armor, he got excited and overwhelmed by the rare powers the armor had in pursuing the Trojans. Secondly, Achilles’ armor was used as a disguise to Patroclus but Apollo and Hektor discovered later. Since this was a faked plan to frighten the Trojans, when a fight broke over Patroclus dead body, the armor separated from the corpse. The armor, therefore, has some divine function which is biased towards a certain side of the warring parties. In book 18, Achilles is furious when he heard reports of Patroclus’ death, and he vows to pursue and kill Hektor. Thetis, Achilles’ mother, grieves since she knew that Achilles is fated to die after killing Hektor, and in line 95-96 she says, “Then, my son, is your end near at hand–for your own death awaits you full soon after that of Hector” (book 18). Regardless of this warning, he was determined to proceed as he stated in line 329-31 thus, “O Patroclus, now that I am left behind you, I will not bury you, till I have brought hither the head and armor of mighty Hector who has slain you” (book 18). Bringing home the armor was a sign of victory for the Greeks and Achilles, as well. Secondly, she reminds Achilles that he has no armor and promises to get him one from Hephaistos, the smith of the gods. His indulgence in the war drives the Trojans away, and Greeks finally recovers Patroclus body. Thetis requests Hephaistos to design a new armor for Achilles and its elaborate decoration and shield are described in the poem.
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