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Frosh Level Essay None The Shield of Achilles The shield of Achilles plays a major part in the Iliad It portrays the story of the Achaeans and their fight against the Trojans in a microcosm of the larger story Forged by the god Hephaestus who was a crippled smith it depicts the two cities and the happenings within as well as Agamemnons kingly estate To gain insight into the details and intricacies of the shield one must look at the shield itself the cities depicted within the shield and the Kings Estate and other scenes which are also depicted These items will give even an amateur reader a fair understanding of the importance of Achilles shield and the Iliad Hephaestus the god of fire is the smith whom forged Achilles shield He begins with twenty hot bellows and fires bronze tin gold and silver in his kiln He then proceeds to hammer the metals upon his anvil to create a massive shield for Achilles to wield The shield itself is made of five layers of metal with a triple ply shield strap edging on the rim On the shield are scenes showing the heavens and earth and sea two noble cities a kings estate fallow fields a thriving vineyard a herd of longhorn cattle and a dancing circle Once Hephaestus completes the shield he makes a breastplate and helmet for Achilles The armor he forges is indestructible and worthy of a god Through Homers description of the shield and how it is forged the reader can begin to understand the importance and value of this device in a literary context The two cities depicted on the shield represent a city in Greece and Troy One of the cities is filled with men dancing and singing and brides marching through the streets while the other is circled by an army This army has two plans
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