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PLOT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS
The plot of the poem follows the classic pattern of development. The first books are largely expository, supplying an introduction to the key characters and the war setting; the opening books also introduce the wrath of Achilles, his withdrawal from the battle, the conflict between Menelaos and Paris, and Zeus' decision to side with the Trojans in the war. The rising action of the plot is developed in Books VIII - XV. With the aid of Zeus, the Trojans are successful in pushing back the Greeks all the way to their ships. In the process, Agamemnon, Odysseus, and Diomedes are wounded in the fighting. There is also a conflict among the gods as they seek to help their favorite warriors in spite of the orders of Zeus. The climax is reached in Book XVI with the death of Patroclos and the return of Achilles to the battlefield.
With the reappearance of the Greek warrior, both plots - the individual and the global - indicate victory. The tide of war will now turn in favor of the Greeks, and Achilles will re-establish himself as a true hero. The next six books portray the victories of Achilles. With the death of Hector in Book XXII, the movement towards the resolution of the plot begins; it is finalized when Achilles is humbled by the meeting with Priam and agrees to return to the body of Hector to the king. By his actions, Achilles clearly indicates that he has overcome his excesses and can now function as a true hero, capable of leading the Greeks to an eventual victory over the Trojans.