The Trojan army marches from the city gates and advances to meet the Achaeans.
Paris, the Trojan prince who precipitated the war by stealing the beautiful Helen from her husband, Menelaus, challenges the Achaeans to single combat with any of their warriors. When Menelaus steps forward, however, Paris loses heart and shrinks back into the Trojan ranks.
Hector presents the terms to Menelaus, who accepts. Both armies look forward to ending the war at last. Iris urges Helen to go to the city gates and witness the battle about to be fought over her.
Priam asks Helen about the strapping young Achaeans he sees, and she identifies Agamemnon, Ajax, and Odysseus. Priam marvels at their strength and splendor but eventually leaves the scene, unable to bear watching Paris fight to the death. Paris and Menelaus arm themselves and begin their duel.
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Neither is able to fell the other with his spear. She summons Helen there too. Helen, after upbraiding Paris for his cowardice, lies down in bed with him. Back on the battlefield, both the Trojans and the Greeks search for Paris, who seems to have magically disappeared.
The Iliad Summary
Agamemnon insists that Menelaus has won the duel, and he demands Helen back. Meanwhile, the gods engage in their own duels. Zeus argues that Menelaus has won the duel and that the war should end as the mortals had agreed. But Hera, who has invested much in the Achaean cause, wants nothing less than the complete destruction of Troy.
In the end, Zeus gives way and sends Athena to the battlefield to rekindle the fighting. Disguised as a Trojan soldier, Athena convinces the archer Pandarus to take aim at Menelaus.
Pandarus fires, but Athena, who wants merely to give the Achaeans a pretext for fighting, deflects the arrow so that it only wounds Menelaus. Agamemnon now rallies the Achaean ranks. He meets Nestor, Odysseus, and Diomedes, among others, and spurs them on by challenging their pride or recounting the great deeds of their fathers. Battle breaks out, and the blood flows freely.
On what day after the return of Hektor’s body to the Trojans will the battle begin again?
None of the major characters is killed or wounded, but Odysseus and Great Ajax kill a number of minor Trojan figures. The gods also become involved, with Athena helping the Achaeans and Apollo helping the Trojans.
The efforts toward a truce have failed utterly.
The Iliad by Homer - Book 3 Summary & Analysis
While the first two books introduce the commanders of the Achaean forces, the next two introduce the Trojan forces. Priam, Hector, Paris, and Helen of Troy formerly, of course, queen of Sparta all make their first appearances in Book 3 , and their personalities begin to emerge. While the sight of Menelaus causes Paris to flee, Hector, much more devoted to the ideal of heroic honor, criticizes him for the disgrace that he has brought upon not only himself but also the entire Trojan army.
Though Paris sulkily blames his misfortune in the fight on the gods whom he claims aided Menelaus, Homer himself makes no mention of these gods, and the suffering that Menelaus undergoes in the fight suggests that he had no divine help. While the rest of the Trojan army is forced to fight for the woman whom he stole from the Achaeans, he sleeps with her. Artboard Created with Sketch.
Character List Achilles Agamemnon Hector. Themes Motifs Symbols Key Facts.
Important Quotations Explained. Summary Books 3—4. Page 1 Page 2. Summary: Book 3 The Trojan army marches from the city gates and advances to meet the Achaeans.
Summary: Book 4 Meanwhile, the gods engage in their own duels. Analysis: Books 3—4 While the first two books introduce the commanders of the Achaean forces, the next two introduce the Trojan forces.
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Previous section Book 2 Next page Books 3—4 page 2. Test your knowledge Take the Books Quick Quiz. Questions Can You Answer Correctly? The Iliad: Popular pages. Take a Study Break.