The Iliad

The Iliad is set in the final year of the Trojan War, fought between the Greeks and the inhabitants of the city of Troy. The legendary conflict forms the background for the central plot of the story: the wrath of the Greek hero Achilles. Insulted by his commander in chief, Agamemnon, the young warrior Achilles withdraws from the war, leaving his fellow Greeks to suffer terrible defeats at the hands of the Trojans. Achilles rejects the Greeks' attempts at reconciliation but finally relents to some extent, allowing his companion Patroclus to lead his troops in his place. Patroclus is slain, and Achilles, filled with fury and remorse, turns his wrath against the Trojans, whose leader, Hector (son of King Priam), he kills in single combat. The poem closes as Achilles surrenders the corpse of Hector to Priam for burial, recognizing a certain kinship with the Trojan king as they both face the tragedies of mortality and bereavement.