So this week wasn’t the best week for me because I had a lot of stuff going on at home so I wasn’t able to study how I normally do. Nevertheless, I still did and here’s this week’s journal. I really enjoyed our discussion on 9/29/20 mainly because I felt that Mr. Sandridge shared more about himself than he usually does. I found out how he wants to die which was pretty cool. Like literally, such a cool way to die: riding on a motorcycle off a ramp and into the sun and when he gets off the ramp, disintegrate into the world/universe. Turns out that we have a lot in common: we don’t sleep much at night, and we both like studying other cultures. Heavy on the latter part for me because it’s actually one of the main reasons I’m in college. I speak 4 languages: Igbo, English, French, and Spanish(not in any specific order), and would like to learn more (Korean, Chinese, Arabic) to be able to communicate with people from everywhere with different backgrounds and be able to share about our individual cultures and backgrounds. It also ties into how and why I love traveling, and eventually want to become a lawyer and an ambassador. Unlike Professor, I did read Percy Jackson, I did watch the movie, and I did study ancient Greek mythology when I was younger. That’s actually what I thought we would be doing more of in this class, hence why I enrolled but it’s alright that we’re not completely centered on Greek mythology because I’m still learning about it regardless.
In book 18, Achilles has now found out that Patroclus is dead. When he finds out, he basically dirties himself by pouring stuff over himself, laying on the floor, and crying loudly. So loudly, in fact, that his mother hears him and comes to him from the sea. Before I go on, I want to mention that this public display of grief from Achilles reminds me of Job. Job was a man in the Bible who lost everything from his property, possessions, to his wife and children and was left alone. Much like Achilles, Job publicly shows his grief by tearing his clothing from his body, wailing loudly, and even going as far as cursing the day he was born. So, back to the book. At this point, Achilles wants to avenge Patroclus by killing Hector (as he should), but he doesn’t have his armor with him so his mom promises to go to Hephaestus so he can make a new armor for Achilles. Now, I don’t know if it’s just me but I felt that this would have been the perfect time for Aphrodite to intervene. Seeing as though she is married to Hephaestus, she could’ve told him not to make the armor or convinced him not to make it. At this point, he goes down to the battlefield because Iris told him to and while down there, Athena comes to him, places Zeus’ armor on him and together they yell a lot. Pause. I’ve always had this question: when the gods don’t come to humans in mortal forms or via dreams/visions, how else do they come to them? Because when I pictured this, I pictured Athena herself coming down from the heavens and approaching Achilles with all her glory, etc, etc. So if I’m wrong, somebody correct me please.
Book 19 in my opinion was really dense, but I like it. Achilles is still grieving, he has his armor from Hephaestus and he’s ready for war. He barely eats and is so eager to avenge Patroclus. I totally understand his passion and need for vengeance, and I want to tell him to slow down, think things through before he rushes into war, but at the end of the day, it’s his fate to die. I thought a couple things were cool in this chapter: Achilles’ horse speaking, Thetis keeping Patroclus body from dying and Agamemnon’s nerve. This man, for God’s sake is one of the most ridiculous men I’ve ever read about. So when he hears that Achilles is going back into battle, he decides to give him all his gifts back. Now, some people might say: “Oh wow, that’s nice of him” or whatever, but in my opinion, he just sucks. Like who made him king? Do you know how many people would’ve been alive had he not been petty, greedy, and selfish? Achilles’ reaction to this was also interesting because it seemed like he didn’t care. He accepts his fate and no longer has use for things like gifts.
Book 20 is fun. So Zeus lets the other gods have their individual reign when it comes to the battle. The gods are all involved now watching from afar their little mortal game of tennis. Apollo, Ares, and Artemis on one end, and Hera, Poseidon, and Athena on the other. Every single thing in this chapter is dictated by the gods. Who fights who, who gets to die and who doesn’t. It’s cool.
Alright!! Book 21 was funny. Ok so boom, Achilles is slaughtering people. Literally, anyone he gets his hands on is dying, no questions asked. And he’s killing them and dumping them in a river. He kills so much and so many people that, get this, the river he’s dumping them in gets mad. This is probably one of the best highlights of this book for me. It was so silly that I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that a river got upset and complained to Apollo about it. How does a river speak? And how does a god hear it? But then, here’s the best part. Achilles hears the river telling Apollo this and HE gets upset and starts fighting the river. Wow. Just wow. Can you imagine: a grown man in battle regalia screaming, wrestling, and stabbing a river. And in turn, the river is beating him back down. Comedic. No but jokes aside, I think it’s cool how Ancient Greeks respected the rivers enough to believe they had powers. Eventually, he gets rescued by the gods who themselves join in on the battle fun.
Below are the discussion questions and my responses to them
What is going on with the Shield of Achilles? What happens on the shield? What themes are represented? Why do you think the poet introduces it at this place in the story? How does it relate to the rest of the Iliad?
So this part was super long, and I was confused as to why it was so long, and why the poet went into so much detail about it. From what I understand, on Achilles shield is the Earth, the sky, the sea, the Sun, the moon and constellations. There are also two cities where one is happy and thriving, and the other, not so much. A lot of things are depicted in the passage like death, eating, celebration, children, farming, etc. I think the shield is supposed to represent life and everything that comes with it, and I think the poet puts it at this point of the story because it’s an important time for Achilles since he’s about to avenge the life of his best friend and consequently, lose his own life.
Describe your feelings for Hector as the Iliad progresses. Make specific reference to earlier passages. Do you feel that he deserves to die at this point? Do you want to see Achilles kill him?
When Hector was first introduced to us, I thought he was noble, honorable and respectable. I actually always liked him. He fought for what he believed in (he didn’t want to be fighting anyway, if I remember correctly), he was a good communicator to his wife (when she told him he was all she had left), he was more reasonable than his brother Paris (he yelled at Paris for hiding away during a war), and he was the best Trojan warrior (several long passages mentioned this). But as time went on in the battle he began “feeling himself”. The Trojans experienced several wins tearing down the Greek army and this is what I feel attributed to his pride. I don’t feel like he deserves to die because nobody deserves to die at the hands of another person but I do feel like he needs to get his pride in check because I think he thinks he’s invincible.