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Achilles Shield

Essay by   •  October 21, 2010  •  519 Words (3 Pages)  •  2,101 Views

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Achilles' shield, made by Hephaestus, the god of fire, plays a part in the Iliad. It tells the story of the war between the Greeks and the Trojans. Hephaestus depicts the two cities and the activities going on in them, and Agamemnon's, the Greek's king, estate. Homer thought that seeing what it is on the shield could help the reader understand the importance of Achilles' shield and the Iliad. Hephaestus used fine metals and put lots of scenes of things going on not only in that time period but also in respect to the Iliad's plot. Hephaestus went into great detail in the cities; especially what mood and what people were feeling.

Hephaestus used bronze, tin, gold, and silver to make the shield. The shield has five layers of metal. On the shield are scenes showing the heavens, earth, sea, two cities (a Greek one and Troy), Agamemnon's estate, fields, a vineyard, a herd of cattle, and people dancing and being merry.

The two cities on the shield represent a city in Greece and the city of Troy. One of the cities is filled with men dancing and singing, and brides in the streets. The other city has an army surrounding it. There is Turmoil around both of the city. In one two armies fight, Greeks and the Trojans, along the river banks killing many men. Both cities are tainted with death, but at the same time both have love in them. In one city, the Greek one, two men, possibly Achilles and a fellow comrade, fight over the consequence for the murder of a warrior and take their case to a judge, could be Zeus in the Iliad, to decide the punishment. In the other, children and wives stay and watch the house and each other as the men go to war. This scene is meant to parallel to the Trojans leaving to fight the Greeks.

Agamemnon's estate is also depicted on Achilles' shield. Plentiful harvests of grain are shown along with Agamemnon standing silently among the barley. An ox is also shown being killed for a feast.

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