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.

13 thoughts on “Writing Assignment – Week 11

  1. Avery Tucker

    Some of the characteristics I found significant about Andromache’s climatic lament for her husband’s death were the value she places on destiny, her revisit to how they were born, and the time she spends speaking about the current/forecoming troubles of their son. Andromache starts “…you and I were born to a single destiny, you in the house of Priam, and I in Thebe…” (Book XXII 477-479). This quote is significant because she recognizes from the start that they were born to a destiny of death. The way that the quote is worded in the text makes it seem as though Andromache was planning on dying together with her husband Hector as she says they were born to a “single” destiny. Everyone is born to a destiny of death, but this segment of the lament insinuates that Andromache planned to share or accompany Hector for the destiny both were born to.
    Andromache continues “…one whose parents are living beats him out of the banquet hitting him with his fists and in words also abuses him: ‘Get out your father is not dining among us’… “(Book XXII 496-498). She spends a lot of this lament speaking about the troubles of her son and how he is to be mistreated due to the fact that his father has passed away. The older men give the kid sips of wine but cannot replace the fact that his Dad was a great warrior killed in battle and can no longer look after him.
    Andromache’s first lament begins “…Your own great strength will be your death, and you have no pity on your little son, nor on me, ill-starred, who soon must be your widow; for presently the Achaeans, gathering together, will set upon you and kill you; (Book VI 407-410)”. I find it interesting that this lament foreshadows the fate of Hector and the future lament of Andromache. She literally tells him that he will be killed for his bravery. She even centers on the fact that he will leave his son behind if he is not careful and sensible.
    The text continues “ and for me it would be far better to sink into the earth when I have lost you, for there is no other consolation for me after you have gone to your destiny— only grief; since I have no father, no honored mother.” (Book VI 410-413). This portion of the lament touches on the way Andromache feels about Hector’s destiny in relation with hers. She states that she wants to die with Hector, which connects with the future lament when she talks about “sharing” the destiny of Hector. It is interesting how much this lament does foreshadow in terms of Hectors fate, Andromache’s emotions, and their son’s brutal future as a father-less Trojan.

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    1. Joseph Reid

      Great post Avery, you introduced your argument very well saying that Andromache’s places values on destiny which led to Hector’s death. She probably saw is death coming at the hands of Achilles because of her father and seven brothers were all killed by him. I agree with what you said about her lament in book 6 foreshadowed the fate of Hector and future lament of Andromache. Hector’s pride shadows his judgment on his decision not to stay inside the walls of Troy, but he had the right idea in mind because he didn’t want to see his wife as a worthless slave in Argos. You concluded very well continuing on the foreshadowing of Andromache’s lament in Scroll 6.

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    2. Kendal Longmore

      I think you hit the nail on the head with both of Andromache’s laments focusing on the destiny of both them and their child. In her first lament when Hektor leaves her to reenter the war she is deeply saddened because she knows that this will be the end of him. It is very ironic that Achilles is the reason her family is gone as she speaks of (6.414-428). She is then goes to tell Hektor that he is her father, mother, and brothers all in one, which can be see as Andromache foreshadowing Hektor’s death by the hands of Achilles because of the way the rest of her family has died.

      I also think that focus on their son is key. She mostly cares about him and his life after Hektor will be gone. She fears that he will be mistreated because his father wont be there to protect him. We can see the shifts in the laments from a more somber sorrow to a blatant melancholy speech.

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    3. Teresa Plummer

      I agree that Andromache’s previous “lament foreshadows the fate of Hektor and the future lament of Andromache.” Each lament seems to build on the previous laments as if they could be one long lament, except for how her emotional state changes from one lament to the next. I’m curious to know what you guys think about her emotional state before this lament, “ran out of the house like a raving woman” (22.460) and how this compares to when Patroklos attacks “like something more than a man” (16.705) or “like something greater than human” (16.786-787). It is almost as if in all of these circumstances, their emotional state is so strong that they appear either superhuman or not human at all, as if losing control of their emotions (rage or grief), they become something else, possessed by something else, or as Professor Nage states, “externalizing interior feelings.” It’s interesting to think about–how strong emotions can change us–even if it is just for a moment.

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  2. Teresa Plummer

    Nice summary of Andromache’s laments, Avery. I too was intrigued by the “single” destiny of Andromache and Hektor. I wonder if the “single” destiny that she speaks of has more to do with the idea that they were both born to die at Achilleus’ hands, her in Thebe and him in Troy, since it was Achilleus who killed her whole family (6.414-430). Even though he spared her at the time, it should have been her destiny to die at his hands along with her family in Thebe just as it is Hektor’s destiny to die at Achilleus’ hands at Troy.

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    1. Kendal Longmore

      I definitely think that this was something on her mind. The fact that her whole family was killed by a single man is frightening. Somewhere she knew that she should have died with her family but Achilles took pity. Hektor is now going up against the greatest achaian warrior who just happens to kill his wife’s whole family. I definitely think this is the fate that she speaks of. Andromache should have died but she didn’t and now she will be left all alone again but now its a little different because of their child and this why I feel she reacts. She can now see that all her fears for the life her child was not to lead are not coming true. I think apart of her wished she had died with her family because now she is stricken with this unbearable grief.

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      1. Natasha Moore

        I agree that part of Andromache wishes she had died with her family but I think that it’s not only because of her own grief but also her son’s. A great deal of her lament is centered on how he will be singled out and mistreated without a father to defend him. Andromache is used to grief but her son is not and like any mother she wishes to protect him. I wonder if she would rather him live with the grief that she speaks of in this lament or be killed by the hands of the Achaeans which is what will eventually happen.

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        1. Kendal Longmore

          I think that Andromache would rather her son be dead. It is clear that she does not want her son to grow up without a father. She wouldn’t have mentioned him if not. I think that ultimately she wishes that things were different and that she didn’t have to put herself nor her son through hardship.

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          1. Paulina Horton

            I don’t know if she wants her son to die as much as she doesn’t want Hector to be who he is. I think Andromache’s biggest wish is that instead of trying to win glory, Hector would think more of trying to preserve their family. She has been a dutiful wife to him and she wants the same from him. I also don’t think she thought she should’ve died with her family because she had already left to marry Hector a while ago, just based on the fact that they have a young son. Even though she is upset about her family’s death she doesn’t want to join them. I don’t think anyone really wants to join the dead because ancient Greek afterlife is different from our afterlife. There was no promise of a bright light at the end of the tunnel in Greek society. When you die you die and become a shade in the Underworld. You wander aimlessly in Hades’ realm barely remembering you’re human. So even though Andromache is upset about the way her life is going I don’t think she wants to necessarily end her life.

  3. Paulina Horton

    I agree with you guys, but have any of you noticed how Hekabe’s reaction to her son’s death is very similar to how Achilles reacts when he discovers Patroklos has been killed back in Book 18? I think the intensity of her lament (22.405 – 22.407) matches Achilles in intensity. Her sons were her glory in the town (22.431 – 22.436) and through them she lives on, but as Priam said earlier Achilles has killed most of his sons. Women don’t necessarily get glory the same way men do. They have to gain it through their children. By Achilles killing her sons, Hector specifically, he has ensured that she will fade from history. Did anyone see any other similarities between the laments of different characters?

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    1. Alicia Wooten

      Paulina,
      This is a very interesting idea and I definitely see the similarities as well, not only in their laments, but also in their physical reactions. After hearing of Patroklos’s death, Achilleus “took and tore at his hair with his hands, and defiled it” (18.27). Hekabe had a similar reaction to her son’s death; she “tore out her hair” (22.406). I think both Achilleus and Hekabe had little reason to live after their loved ones were killed. Hekabe feels worthless without Hektor granting her honor. The ripping out of their hair may be a physical representation of how they are already dead inside.

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      1. Natasha Moore

        I agree with both of your comparisons. I think the biggest difference is that Achilles has the ability to do something with his grief. Hekabe is powerless to do anything about her son’s death while Achilles goes to battle and destroys the Trojan troops. While the death of Hector takes away Hekebe’s ability to recieve any honor, Patroklus’ death is what grants Achilles his.

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  4. Alicia Wooten

    I think it is interesting that Andromache says in her lament, “I wish he [her father] had never begotten me” (22.481). This reminded me of when Achilleus said he wished that Briseis had just been killed instead of captured. These instances both stuck me as odd. Achilleus wished the girl he fought with Agamemnon over was dead and Andromache wished she didn’t exist. They both wish they could avoid grief by having a different past, but they are differentiated by what they wished for. Achilleus wishes someone else was dead, whereas Andromache wishes she wasn’t alive. I think this portion of Andromache’s lament helps to show Achilleus’s selfishness.

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