The Fate of Patroclus

Topics: Iliad, Achilles, Trojan War Pages: 4 (1088 words) Published: October 8, 1999
The Fate Of Patroclus

Throughout The Iliad Of Homer, the constant theme of death is inherently apparent. Each main character, either by a spear or merely a scratch from an arrow, was wounded or killed during the progression of the story. For Zeus' son, Sarpedon, it was a spear through the heart, and for Hector, it was the bronze of the mighty Achilles through his neck which caused his early demise. It seems that no one could escape an agonizing fate. Of these deaths, the most interesting and intriguing death of all is that of Achilles' dear friend Patroclus. Although his life was taken by the mighty Hector's spear, who was truly liable for his death? Could it have been Zeus or Hector or the mighty Achilles to blame for this horrible death? The intricate story line of The Iliad makes many possible answers available, but only one possibility accurately explains the actions and events that led to this gruesome episode. The only person to blame for the death of mighty Patrocles was himself. First of all, Patrocles was responsible for his own death because he requested his insertion into the battle, fully knowing that the Achaeans were being unmercifully defeated. In Book XVI , Patroclus said,

" Send me forth now at the head of the Myrmidon host
That I may be a light of hope to the Danaans.
And let me strap on my shoulders that armor of yours
That the zealous Trojans take me for you and quickly
Withdraw from the fighting."

Because Achilles refused to help the Achaeans battle the Trojans, a discontented Patroclus took the matter into his own hands by requesting activation into battle disguised as Achilles in the hope of sending the Trojans into a full retreat from the sight of him. It is apparent that Patroclus was willing to fight although the odds were greatly against him. His vehemence towards the Trojans coupled with his disappointment of Achilles gave him the drive to conquer the Trojan army with...
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