The Song of Achilles Book Summary

The Song of Achilles Summary, it is a 2011 novel by American writer Madeline Miller. Set during the Greek Heroic Age, it is a retelling of the Trojan War as told from the perspective of Patroclus. 

The Song of Achilles Book follows Patroclus' relationship with Achilles, from their initial meeting to their exploits during the Trojan War, with focus on their romantic relationship. In 2012, The Song of Achilles was awarded the Orange Prize for Fiction.

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The Song of Achilles Summary

The Song of Achilles Summary

‘The Song of Achilles‘ opens with Patroclus, a Greek prince, son of Menoetius, being presented to Helen, daughter of King Tyndareus (and the future Helen of Troy) as a suitor. Patroclus narrates these events with the insight of a grown man, looking back on how his father was continually disappointed in him. Helen does not select the young Patroclus, but instead Menelaus. The remaining young men take a blood oath in defense of her choice. 

Patroclus describes accidentally killing another young boy, one of noble birth. This event resulted in his exile to Phthia. It’s at this time that he first meets Achilles. Patroclus falls in love with Achilles, and the two start a relationship, despite Achilles’ mother’s disapproval. Thetis expresses her belief that Patroclus is not of high enough birth to be a suitable companion for her son. 

Eventually, it comes to light that Paris of Troy has kidnapped Helen, taking her home with him. The oath Patroclus took as a child comes back to him. It may come to war, he believes, and he may be called to fight. 

Agamemnon leads the charge against Troy and calls on the Greeks to join his campaign. This includes Achilles. Thetis is particularly afraid for her son, remembering a prophecy that foretold his death there. She hides him on Skyros. He’s forced to marry a woman, Deidamia, who has his son, Neoptolemus. Patroclus accompanies him there for a time until they are discovered. 

Patroclus is forced to join the war against Troy, and Achilles determines that he’s going to accompany him. The two join the Greeks, led by Agamemnon, and go to war against the Trojans. Achilles is a great warrior and demonstrates his skill numerous times. In a famous episode, Achilles attempts to save Briseis, a young woman, from Agamemnon. This angers the leader, who has also angered the Gods. This leads to a plague on the Greeks. 

Achilles dishonors Agamemnon by refusing to give him Briseis. This leads to Achilles refusing to fight for the king and great losses for the Greeks in battle. In order to save his lover’s honor, and the war, Patroclus puts on Achilles’ armor and goes, in his stead, to fight (without Achilles’ knowledge). Hector, one of the sons of Priam, King of Troy, kills Patroclus, believing him to be Achilles. 

This climactic moment sends Achilles into an incredible rage. He releases his anger on the Trojans, eventually killing Hector. Achilles meets his fate, foretold in the prophecy when he’s shot in the heel with an arrow. The novel ends when Achilles and Patroclus reunite in the underworld. 

Questions about The Song of Achilles Plot

What is the main message of the Song of Achilles? What is the main theme of The Song of Achilles? The main theme of this novel is the power of love. The novel shows how love is capable of overcoming vast obstacles, including death. Readers may also find themselves noticing themes of pride and violence.

Is The Song of Achilles a love story? This is one of my favorite books so far because of the amazing imagery and heart-wrenching love story. The Song of Achilles is a beautiful depiction of love, loss, and how two young people must overcome immense struggles to stay together.

Who is the love story between in Song of Achilles? The novel is a fictitious retelling of the classic Greek myth of Achilles and his companion and rumored lover, Patroclus. Miller tells the story of their love through the eyes of Patroclus, spanning from childhood to adulthood in a lyrical writing style.

Is The Song of Achilles an easy read? There are scenes where the emotions jump straight from the page. I think what I like most about the writing of The Song of Achilles is that it is easy to understand.

How old is Patroclus in song of achilles? Achilles and Patroclus are only 16 years old when they sail off with the allied troops of the Greek kingdoms, commanded by King Agamemnon, to try to reclaim beautiful Helen, wife of Agamemnon's brother, King Menelaus, who has either eloped with or been kidnapped by Paris, a son of King Hiram of Troy.

What makes The Song of Achilles so sad? The relationship between Patroclus and Achilles was a devastating love story. Both young men knew that their relationship was marked with death because of Achilles' duty as a hero.

Is The Song of Achilles an LGBT novel? The Song of Achilles further popularized gay romance stories in science fiction and fantasy. The book, which is told through Patroclus's perspective, is less a war epic than an intimate love story between two coming-of-age boys.

Do they kiss in the song of Achilles? Patroclus continues to spend his time with Achilles and sleep in his room. He also begins to dream of sensual, sexual happenings. One day on the beach, the boys finally share a kiss... but but are surprised and it ends abruptly. Patroclus is then confronted by a very angry Thetis, who witnessed their intimacy.

Did Achilles really love Patroclus? Achilles's relationship with Patroclus has been heavily debated since antiquity, with the likes of Plato arguing their status as lovers. Recently, there has been a shift in the accepted dogma, with more historians accepting the fact that Achilles and Patroclus's relationship was more than simply platonic.

Does Song of Achilles have a happy ending? But Patroclus is never buried; therefore, the two will never be able to be together again. While we always want a happy ending that ties up the story with a pretty bow, Miller does not do that with this novel. It does set her and her novel apart from others, and in the field of writing, that is important.

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