“Come inside the wall, child; here you may fight on to save our Trojan men and women” was the last attempt King Priam of Troy had in keeping Prince Hector from going out of their walls to go head to head with Achilles.
He was speaking not only as a king but also as his father. This was the final plea of the king who already foresaw the doom that Troy was meeting. Priam had already declared that Hector would die if he went out there. He could only plead with his son not to go out and give Achilles the glory that he was seeking in his invitation for a battle between them.
Priam used different arguments to keep Hector from going out to face Achilles. In this situation, the readers could feel the desperation of Priam that represented the desperation of the entire city. The readers, as they sense the desperation of Priam would empathize with the old king and rally behind the prince of Troy. The king basically presented the directions by which the story would go into.
Priam’s argument included that if Hector did not go out to meet Achilles, he could still fight, together with the Trojan army, for the women and men of the city.
He would not let Achilles have his glory. He would show his father pity by not going outside. On the other hand, if Hector went out, Priam already knew what would happen: “my sons brought down, my daughters dragged away, bedchambers ravaged, and small children hurled to earth in the atrocity of war, as my son’s wives are taken by Achaeans’ ruinous hands.”
The final words a father could say to his son, who was about to meet his death, was something that moved the readers into rallying for Hector. Before, Achilles may have been the protagonist but this speech turned the tables around and the readers empathized for the fate of the Trojans and sees Prince Hector as significant in their lives.
This speech made Hector’s death more meaningful and heartbreaking for the readers. It was something that made the climax of the epic more dramatic and heart wrenching that was attributed to Homer’s storytelling.
Achilles was seen as a brute that killed Hector in his animalistic rage. It was evident that before Hector died, Homer already depicted him as the prince, the son, the husband and the father.
Hector was all these things to the Trojans and yet Achilles was just seen as a great warrior. The glory that was meant for Achilles could not be fully appreciated because he was not all the things Hector were. It seemed that the readers would think that it should have been Hector who had won the battle instead of Achilles.
When the ghost of Patroclos appeared to Achilles, the readers were reminded of why Achilles killed Hector. It was to avenge his dear friend and cousin. It reminded the readers of the emotional side of Achilles who was also heartbroken when Hector murdered Patroclos. Even if it was accidental, this confusion provided for this epic a tragedy.
Patroclos appeared and urged Achilles to retrieve his body from the Trojans because he apparently could not crossover without a proper burial. It showed the human side of Achilles more than emphasizing on the character of Patroclos.
However, it did show him and how he depended on Achilles, even in the moments in his afterlife wherein he was crying out to Achilles to let his soul rest. He accused Achilles of neglect when he had died when in reality, Achilles mourned for him and even murdered Hector because of him.
However, the bottom line of the passage served its purpose for getting the readers’ sympathy for Achilles. He was not just some prince-murderer. He was Patroclos’ avenger.
The fact that it was Hector who had accidentally killed him was played a powerful part of the epic. It was further established when Patroclos made Achilles remember the depth of the consequence of his death: “ Never again will you and I, alive and breathing, huddle side-by side, apart from loyal comrades, making plans together—never.”
Aegisthus, the lover of Agamemnon’s wife Clytaemnestra, spoke the passage. It was in response to the recrimination of the chorus because of the joy he found in the murder of his cousin, Agamemnon himself. The chorus was made out of the elderly people in the council. They were rebuking him for his adulterous affair with Clytaemnestra.
In the passage, he was going against the chorus with words and actions. He talked down to the elders in language and nonverbal manners. He felt that he had every right to considering what his family, especially his father had been through because of Agamemnon’s father.
His speech expressed the rage he had and how he did not care nor was he afraid of the things that would follow as he saw this time as the time for avenging his family. Agamemnon’s family had put down his family in such a horrible manner and it was time for Aegisthus to put down everyone else because of it. He was showing how he had the upper hand now and it indicated his pride and confidence for the situation.
The passage regarded the threats he had for the Chorus of Elders and for anyone who would come against him. He came like a bully who was willing to put down anything. During this time, it seemed that he had consolidated for himself the power that his father was fighting for. However, this time it seemed that he was going to rule with an iron hand.
He was especially not going to make it easy on those who sided with Agamemnon and those who rebuked him, “You’ll learn, in your late age, how muck it hurts to teach old bones their place.” He threatened them with captivity and deprivation of food. He saw that it was fit for the chorus because of how they looked down on him, despite the fact that he was responsible for a murder.
He was oblivious and contained a self-righteous image that he validated because of a past that had left him embittered. He thought that he was the one in control as he threatened to teach them a lesson the hard way. However, this was seen to be a foreshadowing of his own downfall in the end.
While readers understand his rage, they were also turned off by his arrogance and disrespect. It showed how his bitterness had pulled him to the dark side and how it was understandable and acceptable if he did not get what he had always wanted.
Pericles’ Funeral Oration
Thucydides revealed in Pericles’ funeral oration the casualties of war. It reflected on the humanity that was involved and affected because of war. In this passage, he was talking about a plague that overtook the area. People were dying everywhere and it just painted a devastating scenario, “sight of people dying like sheep through having caught the disease as a result of nursing others.” People could not help because it was an infectious disease and there was a sense of hopelessness that arose
This passage was also heartbreaking in the manner by which human lives were at stake and no one could really do anything about it if they were not willing their own lives. It was a tragedy because of the number of the people who died and how no one could do anything about it because if they did they would also die.
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