The Iliad Book six The interludes in Field and City | Odyssey Essay Sample

Instructions of the paper were as follows:

Select any Book from an ancient text (Iliad–attached) that we have read for class, identify a theme or themes (see below for possible examples of themes–DO NOT CHOOSE BOOK 9-12 AND 24) that you think it represents, and analyze both the theme and myth (with lavish citation) within the context of your chosen text.

Some possible themes that are well represented by ancient mythoi are:
the journey through life generally; a journey towards a goal or for a particular purpose; the impossible journey, such as to the underworld (katabasis); or a return journey (nostos) to light and life, to home, to a better state of mind, to those we love; the quest for kleos (and/or nostos, homecoming); the quest for a good reputation and/or everlasting fame; mortality versus immortality; loyalty to gods, to family members, to friends; friendship itself and it importance in society; hospitality and guest-host relationships; personal identity or identity of a community; heroes truly “outside” the box; trickery, cunning and/or disguise; dealing with or facing death; suffering in isolation from loved ones; longing, nostalgia, and/or homesickness; vengeance and/or revenge and their consequences; suffering and pain that both increases and decreases in life; suffering into truth; survival and overcoming obstacles; dealing with life’s disappointments; avoiding suicide; getting a proper upbringing; have good and bad parents or children; proper burial customs and rituals and respect for the dead; respect for the gods and consequences of disrespect.


All the best

This is the answer given

The mythology background of the Iliad is based on the ancient Mediterranean world. Aphrodite, the goddess of love, is in a beauty contest where she is competing with other goddesses. She promises Paris the judge of the contest that if he chooses as the winner she will help him get the most ravishing woman in the world that is Helen, the wife of King Menelaus. After Aphrodite is declared the winner, he tells Paris about this woman and her incomparable beauty. Paris goes to woo Helen in Greek, and both flee to Troy a city in Asia (present-day Turkey). This is an affront to the Greeks, they don’t know who will be the next victim of such machination from Troy. A Trojan escapes with wife of one of the king’s wife. The Greeks decide to cross the sea in big numbers for Troy in a mission to win back their pride back and Helen the king’s wife. The fighting starts it takes weeks, months, and the situation goes on for several ages. The Iliad poem by the ancient Greek poet Homer recounts some of the significant events that took place in the final weeks of the (Homer Translated by Fitzgerald, 1974)Trojan War in the Troy.

I will explicitly use book six for theme analysis in this paper. Titled Interludes in Field and City, this book mainly lays the basis for the war that had started in book five. The gods no longer take part in as the battle continues more Trojans are killed the Achaians are not in any way ready for a defeat, neither the Trojans too. Hektor, who is the not only the bravest but also most accomplished Trojan soldier, agrees to this Helenos’ suggestion. Hektor goes back to Troy and the war goes into a lull. During this break, Agamemnon orders Menelaus the King of Sparta to kill Adrestus but Menelaus has intentions to spare the Trojan. Two great warriors from both the armies that is Glaucus and Diomedes steps between the two resting armies for a personal combat. Over a sudden while, they are explaining their individual lineages they discover there were once ties of friendship between their grandfathers. They decide to maintain the same bond between themselves. The two part ways as comrades.

Hektor in Troy instructs Hecuba his mother about the rites to be performed in the temple as instructed by the soothsayer. He goes to look for Paris, and he finds him at home together with Helen he orders him to join the war, and Paris accepts. Hektor goes also to visit his wife and son while, in Troy, His wife requests him to leave for the sake of her and their son Astyanax. Hektor does not agree with his wife rather, he goes back to the war saying that he as many responsibilities.

According this summary the theme of family life and family responsibility, mortality, free will, religion and gods, Compassion and forgiveness among other themes clearly come out in this book.

The theme of loyalty to friendship and compassion, Friendship in the Iliad is a necessary motivation for numerous characters. Friendship changes the way characters act; it makes them act in ways that they would not expect to due to the loyalty of friendship. In this book Trojan Glaucus and the Achaians, Diomedes discovers that their ancestors were bound by Xenia that is guest friendship. Xenia is a ritual friendship between people of different clans or social classes. The beginning of Xenia was symbolized by some ritual like exchanging of gifts. Once the ceremony was performed it formed a bond to join the guest-friends. Interesting enough the friendship was passed on to the offspring of the guest friends. This was the case with Glaucus and Diomedes. The two men decide that they cannot kill each other instead they exchange their armor despite the armor being of different value. Glaucus exchanges his gold for Diomedes Bronze this is believed to as a result of the confusion that Zeus brings to Glaucus.

“…you are my friend! My grandfather, Oines,

Made associates of us long years back. He received

 Prince Bellerophontes in his hall,

They offered to each

beautiful tokens of amity: Grandfather’s

offering was a lion-guard sewn in purple,

Bellerophontes gave a cup of gold two handled; it is in my house; I left it there,

coming away to Troy.” (Homer, Iliad trans Fitzgerald, 1974, Book 6, Lines. 250-260)

This is what Glaucus tells Diomedes, it shows that the ancestors were bounded by Xenia since they gave each other gifts marking the beginning of the guest friendship. Hence, the two men were reunited through this.

“…sworn friend, in central Argos. Mine you stand now

Lykia, Whenever I may come.

So let us keep away from one another’s

arms in the spear battles of this combat                        

Trojans a- sufficiently will be left on behalf of me,

 And friends, as god puts them;

many Achaicans will be left for you to bring down if you can

 battle-gear; let those around us have this bond of friendship from our fathers” (Homer, Iliad trans Fitzgerald, 1974, Book 6, Lines. 260-270)

Glaucus emphasizes on them having the other members of the two armies brought together by the friendship of their grandfathers.

“Both men Jumped down then to confirm the pact

delightful individually taking other fingers.

 had stolen Gauckos’ wits away

 the young man gave up a golden gear for bronze,

 took nine bulls’ worth for armor worth a hundred.” Homer, Iliad trans Fitzgerald, 1974, Book 6, Lines. 260-280)

Now the two men are bound by their grandfathers’ friendship, and they renew the friendship by exchanging their armor.

The loyalty to friendship prevents these men from battling by through their spears. We can see how the themes affect how the characters behave. Also, the Myths of believing in the grandfathers brings the two gentlemen together.

Another theme that gets out apparently in the Iliad sixth book is the idea of love. There is a thoughtful portrayal of love from the book. Love is portrayed in several forms varying from the parent-child love, love for spouse and another.

Hektor goes to Troy to five instructions as ordered by the soothsayer. While in Troy,he meets his mother, wife and his little child. In the scenario when he meets his mother, parent to child love is portrayed his mother Hecuba tells him that the war has worn him out. She understands that his on must be thirst and offers him wine but rejects the offer saying that wine would slack his nerve. This shows that the Hecuba loved his son.

One of the most touching moments in the book come when Hektor goes to Troy and meets his wife, Andromache. Andromache bursts into tears by seeing her husband.

“How brilliantly the warrior smiled, in silence,

his eyes upon the child!Andromache

rested against him, shock away a tear,

and pushed Hektor’s hand on hers, to say: “

Oh my wild one, your bravery will be

your own undoing!” (Homer, Iliad trans Fitzgerald, 1974, Book 6, Lines. 470-480)

Andromache pleads with her husband Hektor to remain back at home, but he resists and says that he was brave since he was a child and quitting the war could be a sign of cowardice. She begs him that he should not widow her nor orphan their son. These words touches Hektor who takes the little child and kisses him later says this prayer;

“O Zeus and all immortals, may this child, my son,

become like me a prince among the Trojans.

Let him be strong and brave and rule in power

at Ilion; then someday men will say

“This fellow is far better than his father!”

the bloodstained gear of some tall warrior slain making his mother proud.”( Homer, Iliad trans Fitzgerald, 1974, Book 6, Lines. 550-570)

From these lines, something special is seen in the character of Hektor he wishes someone else who is not self-good things than himself.The lack of selfishness is something that has not been demonstrated somewhere else through the Iliad world. He loves his kid selflessly he wishes that one he may be better than he. Through  Hektor, we get to know how the theme of parental to child love is demonstrated here. Hektor tells that she should not be worried about even though he dies he caresses her saying.“You know no man dispatches me into the undergloom against my fate; no mortal, either, can escape his fate, coward or brave”(Fitzgerald, 1974, Book 6, Lines. 570-580).

By expression of thoughts between Hektor, his wife, and child, Hektor depicts something special about love parents, love for children as well as the strength of his love.

The world of Iliad continues to illustrate several other themes through this book. The idea of religion is another central theme that affects how the events turn out in the sixth book. The gods and goddesses in the world of Ilaid affect the daily lives of people. Both the Two armies believe that it the gods who will help them come out victorious. The paranormal beings communicates to society through the seers. Most characters in the Iliad are descendants of gods and goddesses generations. Worship to the gods and goddesses is not done anyhow there is a code of morality that is followed. The mortals honor the gods by offering sacrifices while they expect favors in return. The gods also do maintain some basic standards of human conduct they handle people with great hospitality, keeping of the oaths and  ensuring proper treatment of the dead.

In book Six Helenos thinks of sending of sending Hektor to Troy to go and tell the queen, his mother, and other women to make sacrifices to Athena the goddess.

“But go into the city, Hektor;

speak to our Mum; tell that woman to request

women in an age like hers, unlock the shrine

of gray- eyed Athena on our citadel,

and choose that robe most lovely and luxurious,

to place upon Antena’s knees.

Then Heifers, twelve are to be promised her,

unscarred and tender, if she will relent

in pity for our men, our wives, and children,

and keep Diomedes away from the holy Troy.”( Homer, Iliad trans Fitzgerald, 1974, Book 6, Lines. 100-110)

 Helenos thinks that if the women offer excellent and attractive sacrifice to goddess Athene, she will help them beat the enemies in the war. Unluckily, things don’t out as expected by Helenos. They still suffer under the hands of the Greeks they lose more men in the war as the women and children suffer at home. 

In this book, he interlude in field and City Hektor kisses his child later says a prayer to Zeus and all other immortals. Saying a prayer to the gods depicts that the people of the world of Iliad firmly believed in their religion and gods.

Lastly, I will discuss the theme of mortality. The Iliad demonstrates some characters as models while others are immortals. Death is depicted as exceedingly painful and gruesome. In Book 6 Hektor’s wife is worried about losing his husband through the war he advice him to ignore the war, but Hektor gives a deaf hear to his wife. He tells his wife to back home and continue with her work but she together with her maids starts mourning about Hektor while he is still alive.

When Diomedes and Glaucus meet for a personal combat. Glaucus speaks about death indirectly when Diomedes asks about where he comes from, he replies.

“Why ask my birth, Diomedes? Very like leaves upon this earth are generations of men old leaves, cast on the ground by wind; young leaves the greening forest bears when spring comes in. So mortals pass; one generation flowers even as another dies away.” (Fitzgerald, 1974, Book 6, Lines. 170-180).

This ridiculous answer that Glaucus gives was of no importance with reference to the question. All he talks is about leaves falling meaning that he was ready to die in the battle with Diomedes.


Homer Translated by Fitzgerald, R. (1974). Iliad; Interludes in Field and City. New York: Doubleday.

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