“Patroklos is not very important to the Iliad”. How far do you agree with this opinion?
Patroklos is introduced as the companion of Achilleus – the great warrior – which automatically makes him significant to the poem as a whole. His relationship with Achilleus is first shown in book 9 where Patroklos obeys everything Achilleus asks him to do and is names as ‘his companion Patroklos’. This shows they have a good relationship which is important as it shows the audience another side of Achilleus, one where he is loving and caring and human enough to crave the company of a close friend. However the menial tasks Patroklos is first asked to perform could have been undertaken by any common slave and therefore in this scene he does not come across as particularly important to the poem. This close relationship is emphasized a number of times throughout the poem, in particular when Achilleus ‘gave a silent signal to Patroklos with his eyebrows’ which would indicate that their relationship is such that Patroklos understands what Achilleus wants him to do through facial expression alone. Moreover, in book 11, Patroklos is referred to as the ‘pleasure of my heart’ by Achilleus, suggesting that their relationship is deeper than just friends.