Quotes or quotations are phrases and sentences taken from a story or a literary piece. These quotes express universal truths, themes, or situations. The Iliad by Homer has famous quotes given for different situations. These quotations are often cited and referenced in various situations. Some of the quotations from The Iliad have been analyzed below. The translation of Robert Fables is used for these quotes.
Quotes in The Iliad
O my son, my sorrow, why did I ever bear you?
All I bore was doom …
Would to god you could linger by your ships
without a grief in the world, without a torment!
Doomed to a short life, you have so little time.
And not only short, now, but filled with heartbreak too,
more than all other men alive-doomed twice over.
Thetis, the sea goddess, speaks these lines for her son, Achilles. She laments at the birth of her son, saying that she foreshadows his death. She states that due to god’s decrees, he is destined to stay in ships without facing any hardships. However, he has a short life. It is because his death is nearing, which is also dishonorable. That is how he is doomed to fail twice.
“Now be men, my friends! Courage, come, take heart!
Dread what comrades say of you here in bloody combat!”
It is the first battle where Agamemnon, the Achaeans leader, speaks to his men to ask them to come forward with courage. He is urging his fighters that they should win the hearts and minds of the people by showing their feats on the battlefield. Its other side is that the fear of dishonor and insults make the fighters fight hard for the honor that Agamemnon is using.
“Zeus, all you immortals! Grant this boy, my son,
may be like me, first in glory among the Trojans.”
Hector prays to Zeus and other Gods. He prays for his son, asking them to grant a long life and protection to his son. Hector knows that that with the fall of Troy, anything may happen. Hence, he is asking Zeus to save his son for the future glory of his family.
First they fought with heart-devouring hatred
then they parted, bound by pacts of friendship.
Hector is reflecting upon his fight with Ajax. He says that first, they would fight as if hatred has been devouring their hearts out. They would soon part their ways. Later, they would become friends on account of their bravery and its tradition. However, it is sure that they would kill each other on the battlefield.
The same fighters
who pile your gifts at Aegae port and Helice.
gifts by the shipload, hoards to warm your heart.
Achilles speaks these lines, rejecting gifts from Agamemnon, saying that he is sending back Agamemnon’s soldiers, who are bringing gifts for him. As they would come back to Agamemnon, Achilles says that he would be happy to find his soldiers safely back home. Here, Achilles tries his best to avoid joining the Trojan war.
The same honor waits
for the coward and the brave. They both go down to Death.
Achilles responds to Agamemnon about his presents and honors at various places. Here Achilles means that gifts or honors are the same for the coward as well as the brave. Both meet the death, but the brave wins the hearts and minds of the people through courageous acts.
Fight for your country—that is the best, the only omen!
You, why are you so afraid of war and slaughter?
Hector does not like the advice of Polydamas that they should stop attacks after having seen a bad omen. He insists his fighters that it is nothing and that fighting for their country is the best omen. Therefore, he asks them that they should not be afraid of war and killing if they are taking part in the war to save their country.
If only strife could die from the lives of gods and men
and anger that drives the sanest man to flare in outrage
Achilles comes to know that his friend Patroclus has died and that his anger could not protect his friend. Here Achilles thinks that if both, strife and anger, die away from this world, both gods and men will live in relative wisdom. He is repenting over his anger after the death of his friend.
Here was a man not sweet at heart, not kind, no,
he was raging, wild.
After killing Tros, Achilles is fierce with anger. The poet calls him a man who has no sweetness in his heart. He has left his kindness behind, is seething in anger, and getting wild with it. Achilles had previously tried to avoid the war and was one of the wisest characters in the epic. However, the war turns him into a vengeful person.
Come, friend, you too must die. Why moan about it so?
Even Patroclus died, a far, far better man than you.
Achilles is displaying his exploits on the battlefield after killing Trojans. He then tells another Trojan what he is going to do. Therefore, he should not make a plea to save his life. He is telling him that if his friend, Patroclus, has died, it means that all others should die. Achilles claims that his friend was better than others.