Only the Good Die Young
In The Iliad, translated by Richmond Lattimore, Homer depicts many gruesome deaths which take place during the Trojan War. One of the most significant and memorable deaths in this epic is the death of Patroklos. Homer presents his audience with a very interesting situation regrading who is really at fault for Patroklos’ death. There are multiple people that could be responsible for his fatality. Although he was physically killed by Apollo, Euphorbus, and Hektor; Homer leaves us contemplating the person truly held accountable. Was it Zeus? He is the Chief Olympian god who can control any mortal’s fate. Was it Achilleus? He allowed Patroklos to go out into battle wearing his own armor because he was too proud to go out and fight himself. I, on the other hand, believe Patroklos was at fault for his own death. He brought his final destruction upon himself. Patroklos’ pride and naive decision-making got the best of him which ultimately led to his tragic demise.
Leading up to the death of Patroklos, the war was leaning in favor for the Trojans. Zeus allowed the Trojans to “pin the Achaians back against the ships and the water, / dying” (I.409-410) as promised to Thetis in Book I. In Book XVI, the Trojans kept pushing the Greeks farther and farther back against their ships. The Greeks were getting worried and discouraged as they watched their men get massacred. Achilleus had refused to come back to battle, but the Achaians knew they needed him to get the Trojans away from their ships. Nester had made the suggestion to Patroklos to borrow Achilleus’ armor, so Patroklos took advantage of the opportunity. He had a strong regard for his fellow Greeks, and did not want to see more men, that were dear to him, get kill...
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...ad Patroklos let his ego and blind fury overcome him. Apollo was furious and stripped Patroklos of all of his armor. Euphorbus stabs Patroklos with his javelin between his shoulders, then Hektor finishes him off by spearing him in the stomach. That was the end of Patroklos.
In the end, even though Patroklos was a kind-hearted and intelligent warrior, he developed an enlarged ego and a thoughtless fury which led to poor decision-making and his ultimate death. He was so overpowered by death and destruction that he finally got killed as a result. Taking Achilleus’ armor was foolish to begin with, but was done with positive intentions. However, Patroklos ignored all the warnings he received from Achilleus and Apollo because he was too proud to actually think about his actions. He probably would have survived if he would have not let Kleos and Gera cloud his judgement.
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