7

In Richmond Lattimore's translation, the following lines (9.410-416) are a part of Achilles' first speech in Book Nine:

For my mother Thetis the goddess of the silver feet tells me I carry two sorts of destiny toward the day of my death. Either, if I stay here and fight beside the city of the Trojans, my return home is gone, but my glory shall be everlasting; but if I return home to the beloved land of my fathers, the excellence of my glory is gone, but there will be a long life left for me, and my end in death will not come to me quickly.

From this, it is obvious that Achilles knew his life would be shorter if he stayed fighting against the Trojans, and that he didn't know exactly how or when his death would happen. So his pursuit and later duel with Hector might be even more serious to Achilles, that could be suspicious of his own death as a result of the duel. Is this a valid interpretation, or are there any other passages where it is clear that Achilles does not suspect he might die, or even that he knew the duel's result beforehand?

5

The duel in Book 22 is not the first time Achilles and Hector met on the battlefield. The story of their earlier encounter is told by Achilles himself, a little earlier in Book 9:

[346] "Nay, Odysseus, together with thee and the other princes let him take thought to ward from the ships consuming fire. Verily full much hath he wrought without mine aid; lo, he hath builded a wall and digged a ditch hard by, wide and great, and therein hath he planted stakes; yet even so availeth he not to stay the might of man-slaying Hector. But so long as I was warring amid the Achaeans Hector had no mind to rouse battle far from the wall, but would come only so far as the Scaean gates and the oak-tree; there once he awaited me in single combat and hardly did he escape my onset.

Source: Homer. The Iliad. Translated by Murray, A T. Loeb Classical Library Volumes. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1924.

Achilles respects Hector as a warrior, but I think it's obvious that he has no doubt he will prevail over the Trojan prince in single combat. I think it's safe to assume that Achilles had no fear for his life during the duel in Book 22.

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