Writing Assignment – Week 11

In XXII 477-514, Andromache expresses a climactic lament (in fact, it is the longest and most elaborate lament in the Iliad). Taking this lament as your starting point, compare it to her previous lament (VI 407-439). Next, think about and discuss the other two reactions to Hector’s death in scroll XXII in comparison (you are encouraged draw upon other, earlier laments, as well). Last, think and write about the language of “equal to a maenad (mainadi īsē, XXII 460), taking into consideration similar language in Patroclus’s climactic moment (XVI 698-711). Note, particularly, the phrase “equal [īsos] to a superhuman force (daimōn)” found around line 705 (daimoni isos, translated in our text as “like something more than a man”) and then, importantly, again at 786-7 (daimoni isos, translated “like something greater than human”).

NB: Initial posts should be 350-400 words; each reply should be around 100 words.

10 thoughts on “Writing Assignment – Week 11”

  1. The lament in this book is in much more detail that the first lament in Book 6. The first lament was more about what happened to her in the past, and in this lament, it’s more about what will happen to her son’s future. To me, this makes all the difference in looking at Andromache’s character. I remember saying in Week 3 about how she was a bad mother. She didn’t care enough about her son to stay alive and take care of him- it had to be Hektor. But in this lament, she talks about how a son, more specifically her son, needs to have a father not to be shunned by people. Reading this, I feel more for Hektor’s family.
    But there is something I don’t understand. If the Trojan people will shun Hektors child, then Hektor either didn’t win enough glory, which we know isn’t true, or people hold Hektors death against his son. This doesn’t make any sense to me either, but reading the lament of the Trojan people. What do you guys think of this?

    • Mary, your initial comment about the difference between the two laments is exactly what strikes me most. While her first lament harps on her past, this lament dreads the future. However, while both have these different focuses, each nods to the other. In her early lament, Andromache refers to herself as “ill-starred” and begs Hektor to have pity on herself and the child and in her later lament again refers to herself as “ill-starred” and essentially points out that it is too late now for Hektor to have pity or help them, now a widow and orphan (VI.407f, XXII.481, 483f). As such, the second lament almost serves as a continuation of the first – it recalls the original and causes the listener to remember the past she once described as she goes on to describe the future that awaits her and her child. It is this recollection that I believe makes the description of their poor future more effective. An unhappy future seems much more dreadful when you recognize all the ways in which it is different from your past.

      • Megan, I really like you idea that Andromache’s second lament is merely a continuation of the first. As you mentioned, the two laments look at two different, Andromache’s past and future. I think if the two laments were actually taken out of the text, they could actually possibly flow very well into one another. In the first lament back in book 6, Andromache reflects on her past. She goes into how Achilleus has killed her entire family and she tells Hektor, “you are father to me, and my honored mother, your are my brother, and you it is who are my young husband,” and basically tells him that he is everything to her (6.429-430). Looking back over her past simply gave a way for Andromache to explain just how much Hektor meant to her, a common point to make in anyone’s eulogy. Now, going forward to book 22, Andromache addresses her future without Hektor. She talks about how she will never longer be able to provide for Astyanax without Hektor and how disrespected he will be by the other Trojans. She says, “Though he escape attack of the Achaians with all its sorrows, yet all his days for your [Hektor’s] sake there will be hard work for him and sorrows, for others will take his lands away from him. The day of bereavement leaves a child with no agemates to befriend him,” when describing what will come next for Astyanax (22.487-490). By talking about her future without Hektor, she is talking about how much his death will affect her and how much he will be missed now he is no longer to do simple things such as provide a stable and honorable future for Astyanax. This second lament is basically the “I miss you lots” part of a eulogy. Therefore, I think the two laments compliment each other well and could easily be fused together to form one enormous lament to honor Hektor’s memory.

      • Megan, I like the idea of the second lament being a continuation of the first. I understand what Clara’s saying in stating that the first is more of a plea for Hektor to stay while the second is her in mourning, but I definitely see the parallels that you are talking about. Its important to point out that she was mourning his death as he left for battle in the end of Book 6 so its appropriate to consider her lament in book 22 as a continuation. Even though her second lamentation played heavily on the fact that her fatherless son would experience an unwelcome future, I think it ties in perfectly with what she spoke in Book 6 about being a widowed wife with an “orphan son”.

    • Mary, I like your point about how this second lament adds more to Andromache’s character. It wasn’t something I considered when I initially read it. However, the point that I really wanted to address was your comment about the fate of Hektor’s and Andromache’s son, Astyanax. In her lament, Andromache elaborately describes the fate that now awaits Astyanax with his father dead. Where before, he was always fed well and welcomed by the Trojans, Andromache predicts that the Trojans will actually reject Astyanax, going as far as to kick him out of dinners and giving him nothing. Now, I personally do not know all that much about Greek culture, but I don’t think that is what will happen. Hektor was a great warrior and leader for the Trojans, which we saw repeatedly over the course of the Iliad. And the Trojans respected Hektor very much, his mother, Hekabe, even went as far to say that “they adored you [Hektor] as if you were a god, since in truth you were their high honor while you lived,” (22. 434-436). Considering how honored Hektor was, I don’t think the Trojans would turn their back on and abuse Astyanax like that. In addition, we can look at the example of Neoptolemus, who was Achilleus’ son. After Achilleus’ death, the Greeks didn’t turn their backs on or disrespected Neoptolemus in anyway. Actually, he was continued to be treated quiet well and was awarded his father’s armor by Odyessues.

      • Megan, I enjoyed your notation of how Andramache calls herself “star-crossed” in both laments bridging the two togerther as well as Breannas observation of how the first lament is focused on her past and the last lament is focused on her future. I would disagree with the statement that this lament is merely a continuation of the first lament. In the first lament it is as if Andromache is begging Hector not to go into battle as she states “Please take pity upon me then, stay here on the rampart, that you may not leave your child an orphan, your wife a widow” (6.31-6.32). In book 22 it is a lamentation where Andramache has no hope to escape the fate which she has predicted for her and her son.

  2. As for Andromache’s being compared to a maenad, I think it is interesting to look both at the language used here as it relates to the language used with Patroklos in Book XVI but to also compare it to the reaction of Hekabe in Book XXII. Firstly, there do appear to be connections between Patroklos being described as “super human” and Andromache as “like a maenad,” but it is difficult to make because they are not being described in similar actions. Patroklos is fighting and Andromache is lamenting. However, the two are connected in that these are defining character moments for each of them. While women of the Iliad do not win glory for combat, they are assigned remembrance through speeches such as laments. In this way, it seems like the two characters are both acting in a capacity expected for their type while exhibiting behavior outside of the norm. Secondly, while the language may not be the same to describe both Andromache and Hekabe, I believe that their actions are highly similar – both appear to lose all self-control and regard for sophistication. However, it seems that in such a scenario, this denial of all self-restraint is accepted. In fact, it could be argued that Priam also acts in this way as he immediately asserts that he must go to Achilles in supplication (XXII.416-20). His manner of speaking here seems to assume that he might be acting outside of expectation as his opening sentence requests, against the initial response of the people, that they all let him leave.

    • Megan, I agree with the point you made that acting like a Maenad or loosing self restraint in lamentations is acceptable. In some ways, Andromache’s comparison to a Maenad is encouraged as it is honorable to be mourned in such a way. Though I do not see Andromache acting in this way through her speech she is said to be “in tears (as the) women joined her in mourning(22.515). The similarities of her and Patroklos both being compared to something super human, as Patroklos is said to be “equal to a super human force”, also show there status. It may be because these two characters are the closest to the two main players, Achilles and Hector, that their language is similar.

  3. Yeah it is certainly possible that Hektor’s child would be shunned only because he would not have a father figure to raise him. Perhaps it is assumed that without the father figure, Hektor’s child will grow up without understanding basic law and rules, and will thus make himself detestable to mankind, which would cause them to shun him. After all, we can see in present day that kids who grow up without a father are often lacking in some area that only the father can truly teach them. Sometimes this isn’t the case, but poor teaching on the father’s part can have similar results. If Hektor’s child ends up being shunned, it would be because no matter how much glory his father earned, the child may resent the world for killing his father before he was born/would not have been taught things that only a father can teach.

    • Brandon, I agree that Hektor’s son would only be son because he no longer has a father. However, I think Andromache’s speech served more to pity the fatherless son as opposed to making him look like an outcast. Its true that there are certain things that children miss out on when a father is not present, but I feel like her lament was her way of “telling” Hector that because he got himself killed, now their child will have to suffer for the rest of his life. I think the idea of him being shunned is just her way of making the child’s future seem pitiful because, honestly, being the son of Hector should bring him some type of notoriety.

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