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Quotes

Quote #1

(Helen:)
'Strange divinity! Why are you still so stubborn to beguile me?
Will you carry me further yet somewhere among cities
fairly settled? […]
Go yourself and sit beside him, abandon the gods' way,
turn your feet back never again to the path of Olympos
but stay with him forever, and suffer for him, and look after him
until he makes you his wedded wife, or makes you his slave girl.' (3.399-401, 406-409)

Here, Helen tells off Aphrodite for meddling in her life. These lines are interesting because they portray love as a destructive force. Can you think of any other passages in the poem that express a similar view of this, or another emotion?

Quote #2

(Hektor:)
'Zeus, and you other immortals, grant that this boy, who is my son,
may be as I am, pre-eminent among the Trojans,
great in strength, as am I, and rule strongly over Ilion;
and some day let them say of him: "He is better by far than his father",
as he comes in from the fighting; and let him kill his enemy
and bring home the blooded spoils, and delight the heart of his mother.' (6.476-481)

These lines show that Hektor is not merely a great warrior; he also deeply loves his wife and child. Can you think of any other instance in the entire Iliad in which a character wishes somebody else were better than him or herself? We can't either. By expressing this thought, Hektor expresses something special about the love of parents for children – as well as the strength of his own love.

Quote #3

So speaking he set his child again in the arms of his beloved
wife, who took him back again to her fragrant bosom
smiling in her tears; and her husband saw, and took pity upon her,
and stroked her with his hand, and called her by name and spoke to her:
'Poor Andromache! Why does your heart sorrow so much for me?' (6.482-486)

These lines continue the depiction of Hektor as a family man. Which do you think is more important to Hektor: his love for his family or his sense of duty as a warrior? Or do these add to each other?

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