Andromache As The Real Victim In The Iliad
In Homer’s The Iliad, there are many victims of war such as Sarpedon, Patroclus, and Hector, all of whom die. There is, however, another lesser discussed victim of this war, Andromache. Andromache, the wife of hector, showcases the effect of war on those left at home who must live through the aftermath. The epic poem presents her background with Achilles, how caring she is, and how tragic her future will be.
Achilles, who is often thought to be the hero, is truly a villain in Andromache’s eyes. Achilles killed her father, mother, and all seven of her brothers. “I have lost my father. Mother’s gone as well. Father… the brilliant Achilles laid him low”. Even though Andromache does view Achilles as a villain, she also has some respect for him. Achilles has inflicted suffering upon her, yet she still respects him. Andromache describes him in a positive light, and is even thankful towards him, “He killed Eetion, not that he stripped his gear-he’d some respect at least”. As a result of Achilles’s actions against her family, she is terrified that he will strike once again and take away the rest of her family.
Despite the tragedy in her life, Andromache is still a good-hearted person. The first time she is mentioned is when Hector is trying to find her to say goodbye one final time. Being unsuccessful, he asks a servant: “Where’s Andromache gone?… Athena’s shrine where the noble Trojan Women gather to win the great grim goddess over?” One of the first places he assumed she went was the temple to help with the war. After Hector returns to the battle he gives a speech on how kindhearted she is to the horses. “The loving care Andromache, generous Eetion’s daughter, showered on you aplenty”. She gave the horses extravagant food and drink and attended to them before attending to Hector . This demonstrates how caring she was to others.
At the end of the poem, Andromache is lamenting the future that awaits her. Achilles killed Hector as she feared and now, she and her child must face the consequences of the soon to be lost war. She mourns: “my child, will follow me to labor, somewhere, at harsh, degrading work, slaving under some heartless master’s eye”. There is no other path for her to take as women had very limited options. Andromache continues with her child’s fate differing from hers significantly. “Some Achaean marauder will seize you by the arm and hurl you headlong down from the ramparts-horrible death”. The fate of her child adding on to the tragedy that awaits her.
In conclusion, Andromache is the true victim of The Iliad. Every family member, except for her child, killed by Achilles and ultimately her child will be killed. Then to add to that she had to face a dismal future. Andromache was not the only one to have this fate, however. The other women of Troy would have faced a similar fate. They would be slaves or trophies while their husbands, brothers, and sons would be killed. Ultimately, women like Andromache are the real victims of the war in Homer’s The Iliad.
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In Homer’s The Iliad, there are many victims of war such as Sarpedon, Patroclus, and Hector, all of whom die. There is, however, another lesser discussed victim of this war, […]