How Does The Iliad End?

The epic poem ends in a nostalgic and mournful way. The last book is about a father who lost his son and wishes to make an honorable funeral as the last thing he could give him. The book symbolizes the end of any war when sorrow replaces anger.

Book 24, the last one in The Iliad, is full of events. Achilles mourns Patroclus and abuses Hector’s body, while Apollo protects the corpse from natural damage. Twelve days after Hector’s death, Zeus sends Thetis to instruct Achilles to return the body to Priam. Iris tells Priam to prepare the ransom. Hecuba is apprehensive for her husband, but Zeus sends an eagle, a good omen, to reassure her.  

Priam goes to the Achaean camp in a chariot full of treasure. Hermes disguises himself as a Myrmidon soldier and guides Priam on his way. The god reveals himself when they reach Achilles’ tent.

Priam implores Achilles to give Hector’s body back. He suggests Achilles recall his own father, Peleus. What would be Peleus’ reaction to the death of his son? Achilles cries for his father and friend. He takes the ransom and returns Hector’s body to Priam.

Priam has spent half of the night in Achilles’ tent when Hermes comes to warn him that it is a bad idea to sleep in the enemy camp. Priam and his herald, Idaeus, put Hector in the chariot and leave the camp unnoticed.

When they reach Troy, all of the women cry in grief for Hector. It takes the Trojans nine days to prepare a funeral pyre. No battles take place during this period. The Iliad ends when Hector’s pyre is lit on the tenth day.

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