The Iliad Book 22 Summary

Instructor: Lauren Boivin

Lauren has taught English at the university level and has a master's degree in literature.

This lesson provides an overview of Book 22 of Homer's ''The Iliad''. In this chapter, we finally see Achilles and Hector engage in battle, and things do not end well for Hector.

Tricky Apollo

As Book 22 of Homer's The Iliad opens, we see Achilles hot on the heels of Agenor outside the city. But it's not Agenor after all--it's Apollo pretending to be Agenor. Apollo drops the disguise and Achilles is all kinds of angry when he realizes he's been tricked. He's spent all this time chasing this guy, when all Achilles really wants is to be killing Trojans and gaining glory in battle. He feels pretty ripped off. In a temper, he turns around to head back into the city and winds up face to face with none other than Hector!

Hector's Dad

Before Achilles meets up with Hector, Hector's dad, King Priam, sees Achilles running toward them in his shining armor. Priam knows what kind of warrior Achilles is, and he knows Achilles is bent on killing Hector in order to avenge the death of his friend Partroclus. He starts to beg Hector not to fight Achilles: ''Hector, my beloved son! Do not face that man alone, without a friend, or fate will soon find you out!''

Hector's Resolution

Despite his dad's advice, Hector resolves to face Achilles in battle--not necessarily because he feels the need to be heroic, but because he is worried that it will make him look bad if he doesn't. Hector convinced all of his troops to sleep outside the city walls the night before even though Polydamas said it would be safer within the city. Because of Hector's decision, many Trojans are killed. Because of this, Hector says, ''I am ashamed to face the men and women of Troy.'' For the sake of his reputation, Hector resolves to meet Achilles in battle. He declares, ''Either I shall kill him and return in triumph or I shall die with honor before the gate.''

The Battle

For all of Hector's big talk, it turns out he's still terrified of Achilles. As Achilles approaches, we read that Hector ''trembled to see him,'' and then ''he could stand no longer but took to flight.'' When we read that Hector 'took to flight,' that means he took off running. Achilles chased after him--together they ran around the city four times. At that point, Athena intervenes, appearing to Hector in the shape of Deiphobus, promising to fight alongside him against Achilles. Athena soon disappears, however, and leaves Hector to fend for himself against Achilles. It doesn't turn out well for Hector, as Achilles eventually kills him.

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