Who Killed Patroclus?

In Book 16, Hector kills Patroclus in battle. But it was not clean fighting. Apollo helped to knock Patroclus off his feet, and a young soldier made the first hit. But Hector finished him off, and that is why we consider him to be the murderer.

How does Patroclus die? There are several answers to the question. After all, many people and gods had their hands in murdering him. The first and the most obvious answer is that Patroclus is killed by Hector, the son of King Priam.  

Patroclus killed many Trojans, including Sarpedon, Zeus’ son. Apollo, disguised as a mortal, talks Hector into attacking him. Patroclus kills Hector’s charioteer, and they fight over his corpse. The Greek tries to take the charioteer’s body and kills many Trojans, but at some point, Apollo knocks him over from behind. Euphorbus, a young Trojan soldier, wounds Patroclus between the shoulders with a spear. Patroclus tries to hide, but Hector spears him in the stomach. This wound was lethal. Hector told Patroclus that Achilles would not save him. While dying, Patroclus warns Hector that Achilles will seek vengeance.

Second, Achilles gave Patroclus his armor and horses with the only condition that he would not follow the enemies to Troy. The plan was to push them away from the Achaean ships. But the warrior did not follow his friend’s advice. Thus, Patroclus’ overconfidence killed him. The Iliad has multiple examples of the killing power of recklessness and arrogance, including Achilles’ and Hector’s destinies. 

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