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  1. Introduction The Iliad is the story of Ilium or Troy, a rich trading city in Asia Minor near the narrow sea that leads from the Aegean to the Black Sea. This chapter narrates the scene of war between the Trojans and Greeks and how the victorious party ingeniously defeats their enemy.  A War for LoveRead more

    Introduction

    The Iliad is the story of Ilium or Troy, a rich trading city in Asia Minor near the narrow sea that leads from the Aegean to the Black Sea. This chapter narrates the scene of war between the Trojans and Greeks and how the victorious party ingeniously defeats their enemy. 

    A War for Love

    The Trojans were a smart community that had fortified their city by building a strong wall around it. Troy was well situated, both for commerce and agriculture. The Greeks waged a war with the Trojans to retaliate for the elopement of Paris and Helen. Paris was the Trojan prince, and Helen was the Greek Queen and wife of King Menelaus. Paris had brought her to Troy. The Greeks sailed to Troy and laid siege to the city. The Trojans, too, fought hard and the siege continued for ten long years. 

    There were daily conflicts between the two parties. On one hand, the Greeks were unable to capture the city, and on the other hand, the Trojans could not compel them to sail away. Great heroes from both sides were martyred. Hector, the defendant of Troy was alas assassinated by Achilles. Achilles, on the other hand, was murdered later by a poisoned arrow that pierced his heel, which was the only portion of his body that could be harmed. Later, Paris was assassinated, too, by a poisoned arrow. The Trojans were fed up with being cooped up in their city, while the Greeks yearned to return home. However, the fighting continued.

    Finally, Troy was captured, not by force, but by deception. Odysseus, ever clever, devised a strategy to achieve triumph. He planned to build a wooden horse, big enough to hide his strongest soldiers in it. They would burn their tents and pretend to sail to Greece. Then, they would return and attack while the Trojans slept. The wise Odysseus’ suggestion was followed by the Greek leaders. So a proficient engineer built a massive wooden horse, and the greatest heroes, Menelaus, Odysseus himself, and others entered in it, the architect himself being the last to enter, as he knew the secret of opening and closing the door. Only one man was left behind to persuade the Trojans to drag the horse into their city.

    A Pernicious Present

    The next day, the Trojans were beyond delighted to see the tents burned and shore deserted. They cried with joy and opened the city gates wide and free. As the people wandered on the free shore, they noticed the huge horse left behind. The crowd gathered around in astonishment and began to observe the masterpiece. They noticed a Greek with his hands tied together lying under it. On questioning the terrified man, after much persuasion and threatening, he revealed that the Greeks had built the horse as an offering to the God of the sea. He further elaborated that they wanted to sacrifice him too, but he escaped. 

    The man lied that the horse was built huge because it was too big to fit through their gate and the Greeks did not want the Trojans to take it into their city and steal the good luck. The Trojans oblivious to the Greek’s lethal plan and, too excited brought the horse into their city. Although their priest advised them not to, the Trojans still broke a part of their wall and brought the horse in. The Trojans feasted and rejoiced all day. After all of their revelry, they retired to their beds. However, that happy day was quickly followed by a night of terror and tragedy. 

    The Greek fleet that had anchored on a nearby island soon sailed back. The ship, which was Agamemnon’s, bore a red light high on its mast. This was the signal that the lone Greek left behind needed to alert the warriors in the horse. The side of the horse opened, the Greeks climbed out and opened the gates. The whole Greek army entered the sleeping city and without further ado set fire to houses and towers and palaces, and began to burn and kill. The sight of leaping flames and the screams of crying women overwhelmed Troy. 

    Many of the Trojans were killed before they could put on their armour. The Trojans battled valiantly, but it was all in vain. King Priam was killed along with his gallant sons and Hector’s family was taken as slaves. Their fate contrasted with Helen’s who was forgiven by Menelaus, as it was Aphrodite, a Greek goddess who deviated Helen from her family. Nothing remained of the strong, wealthy city that had resisted attack for ten years when daybreak came.

    Conclusion

    The story is an excellent example of a conniving victory but then again, is not everything fair in love and war? 

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