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.

14 thoughts on “Writing Assignment – Week 11

  1. Joseph Reid

    In Scroll 6 of the Iliad, Andromache weeps and begs with her husband to stay inside the city. She reminds him how much he means to her – as all her family is dead (father (Eetion) and seven brothers all killed by Achilles). “Don’t make your son an orphan and your wife a widow!” Hector says he must go back to the battle: but he knows Troy is destined to fall. He foresees Andromache’s future: a despicable slave in Argos. That is why he has to fight. Hector holds out his arms to his son, Astyanax, but the boy is scared of the great helmet. Hector tells his wife to go home and go to to her weaving: war is men’s business. But she knows she will never see him again. In Scroll 22, no one even let her know that her husband had stayed outside the gates alone. She is at home, harmlessly weaving while the maids heat up water for Hector’s bath. Suddenly she hears the women shouting on the walls. She drops her shuttle, and rush out, full of fear. She climbs the battlements, and sees a cloud of dust where they are dragging her husband towards the Achaean ships. She passes out. She foresees the suffering of her son’s life – poverty, no friends, and ridiculed by other boys. If he goes to see a friend of his father, people will mock him, saying: “Go away! Your father is not here.” He’ll run home in tears to his mother. She thinks of Hector, eaten by worms, and naked, despite all the lovely clothes Andromache and her women made for him, even though they will be burned. Both laments in each of these scrolls express the love and constant worry Andromache has for Hector. They also express the respect that Andromache has for Achilles as a fighter because Andromache tells Hector to stay inside of the gates. Hecuba and Priam also laments for Hector. Priam says Achilles is stronger than him and that both of his sons, Lycaon and Polydorus are lost, so it will be horrifying if his sons were slaughtered, daughters raped, babies dashed on the ground, and himself killed last. In Scroll XVI”lines 698-711″, Patroclus had defied Achilles’ orders and made a fatal mistake. Killing as he goes, he storms towards Troy itself. Three times he nearly climbs the wall, but three times apollo thrusts him down. Apollo finally dislodges him, with a powerful shout: “You are not fated to capture Troy, nor is Achilles, who is a far better man than you”. It’s surprising how in all of these moment, Achilles is compared to someone and comes out better than them. In Scroll 22, Line 460, a language called a “maenad” is talked about. Maenads were female followers of Dionysus, and their name translates as “raving ones”. In line 460,the line states “So she spoke, and ran out the house like a raving woman with pulsing heart, and her two handmaidens went along with her”. The raving woman line was in reference to maenads.

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    1. Cordelia Davies

      Great post! What you said about Andromache: “She foresees the suffering of her son’s life,” it is interesting to me because she goes into such great detail whereas in her first lament I thought it was strange how much Hektor and Andromache focused on Andromache’s fate and seemed to barely mention how Hektor’s death would affect the child. Now I see that she is definitely fearful of how Hektor’s absence will affect her son, but her detailed projection of his fate seems unreasonable. Perhaps it is a difference in times and cultures, but it seems like really harsh treatment just because someone’s father died. I would expect him to be honored because his father was the strongest and bravest of all the Trojans and he stood up to Achilles and knowingly tempted fate regardless of Athene’s trickery.

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      1. Chris Grass

        Cordelia, good points about whether or not Andromache is being over-dramatic. This in some ways may be Homer’s great depiction of motherhood. It may not be likely that all of the terrible thing envisioned about Astyanax will actually happen, but there is no questions that mothers typically worry more than they logically should for their children. This graphic depiction tells me that although the details are not known Andromache is coming to terms with her worst nightmare. Her personal enslavement but even more so her son’s likely unfortunate fate. I do agree that it does seems really harsh that friends of Hector would potentially shun his orphaned son.

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        1. Jerome Lawrence

          Good posts team Glaukos. I believe the main difference between Andromache’s two laments are that in the first one she told an alive Hektor to not go out into the war between the Trojan and the Achaians in a stern fashion in which she even says that Hektor has no pity on her or their child (line 6.407) and in her second lament she is more giving words of pure sadness without the harsh sternness of her own fate that awaited her. There is a harsh similarity in both laments however, because in both it almost seems as if she regrets marrying Hektor. In lines 6.410-6.413 she says that it would be better for her to no longer exist and just die because of all the bad things that would follow. In book 22 she is now realizing that the fears that she had about the events that may follow Hektor’s death may just now come true. She had a feeling that Hektor had died before getting confirmation that he was dead but because of the grief of losing Hektor and the fear of the beginning of harsh events that were to come she was hoping that Hektor had not died.

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          1. Jerome Lawrence

            I do not blame Andromache for running out like a raving woman because she had her owns suspicions that Hektor was dead from before she saw his dead body being dragged by Achilles and she knew what future would await her and her child if her suspicions were correct.

        2. Alyssa Sohns

          I definitely agree, because with you Chris, Andromache was perhaps being a tad overdramatic about what would happen to her son, because as you said, it seems harsh and unlikely that he would be shunned by his fathers friends. The only reason that I would think he could possibly be shunned by his fathers equals is if he died unhonorably or something, but Hector would die most likely be at the hands of Achilles, and while its terrible to die, you might as well do it at the hands of the best fighter in all of Greece.

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        3. Cordelia Davies

          Absolutely Chris, it is a mother’s job to worry about her child. Your comment also got me thinking about, in a similar way, how people can be self-conscious sometimes and worry so much about how people will perceive, judge, and treat them. Andromache is worried that her son will be judged in the future. When put in perspective, it usually turns out that we are usually a lot harsher on ourselves, and in Andromache’s case her son, than the people around us.

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    2. Chris Grass

      Joseph, I think this is an excellent post, you managed to cover all the material and link it together very succinctly. I think it’s valuable to revisit the scene of Andromache’s first lament at this point in the Iliad. After Hector kills Patroclus, I personally saw him in a different light. This was primarily due to the inglorious way Hector killed patroclus (vaunting over a man who had been wounded by a god and fellow warrior first). Revisiting this scene re-humanized Hector in my eyes. The fact that he went out to fight knowing his own death was certain and his family would be ruined would have been and extremely difficult choice. In Andromache’s second lament we get a more graphic description of the unpleasantness that awaits Hectors family as a consequence of his decision.

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  2. Rashaad Sewell

    I agree with the details you have presented in the passage. I like how all your details are concrete and obvious to the question. Your details accurately support your comparison between Andromache’s first and last lament. Andromache’s plea to Hector to stay with his family was unsuccesful. She practically begs him not to join the battle. She explains to him that he will die in the war. She also, describes how Astyanax will become and orphan and Adromache wil become a widow. This is Andromache’s last chance to persuade Hector to stay. Unfortunately, for Andromache and Astyanax Hector decides to go to war instead of staying home to protect his family. His reply to Andromaache is that the future holds nothing good for you, you’ll become a slave. He explains that he must join the battle in order to prevent his from happening.

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    1. Jerome Lawrence

      Team Glaukos, you’re posts are so informative that it becomes difficult to add unsaid information. Rashaad, it is sad that Hektor is the person who told Andromache that she would become a slave. Why is this so? Because one of the worst things that could occur is someone confirming ones fears instead of comforting and saying that there will be happy times, even if that person dies. Andromache now sees Hektor and because of what Hektor said to her before he went out into the Trojan war she may begin to believe that her sorrows are far from being over.

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      1. Alyssa Sohns

        I think the fact that he told her straight out that that would happen to her shows how honest their relationship is, because he wouldn’t lie to her to make her feel better, and I think if he did she would know better. It definitely makes sense to me that after she sees him leave and later when she sees the body she freaks out, because all the stuff he told her would happen if Troy fell was most likely going to happen then, as one of their most valuable people was killed.

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  3. Bailey Allen

    I agree with the idea that Andromache is maybe just a worried mother,mimmediately jumping to the worst conclusion. I know if I was ever 20 minutes late getting home, my mom assumed I eas dead. However, perhaps it is a convention of laments to exaggerate the situationa s much as possible, in order to give the lament a more intense emotional effect. For instance in Priams lament, as he tries to dissuade Hektor from fighting, describes all the bad things that have happened to his family, and then ends with “and myself last of all, my dogs in front of my doorway, will rip me raw” (22.67). Its not likely that his dogs will randomly decide to rip him apart, but the description adds to the drama of the lament and makes it more effective. His mother also gets involved too, and her bit is also incredibly dramatic, basically pulling the “I birthed you!” card. Andromache’s previous lament is equally exaggerated, saying that Hektor is her mother, father, brother, and husband, as she has no other family. (6.430). Therefore, in my opinion, the unreasonable claims Andromache is making are made in order to make her lament more effective.

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