Ransom

by

David Malouf

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Patroclus Character Analysis

As Achilles’s closest friend, Patroclus looms large in Ransom even though the novel opens after his death. Patroclus and Achilles met when they were boys and grew up as adoptive brothers, so Achilles’s sense of himself is deeply intertwined with Patroclus. In fact, he views Patroclus as his “soulmate,” implying a possible sexual or romantic relationship. Nevertheless, the two do not always see eye to eye, with Patroclus seemingly feeling a deeper debt of loyalty to the Greek army. This difference of opinion is also what ultimately leads to Patroclus’s death, since after Achilles refuses to fight because of an insult he receives from the Greek general Agamemnon, Patroclus borrows Achilles’s armor only to die in a duel with Hector. His death sends Achilles into a destructive spiral of grief and rage, leading him to kill Hector and drag Hector’s body around the walls of Troy.

Patroclus Quotes in Ransom

The Ransom quotes below are all either spoken by Patroclus or refer to Patroclus. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fate, Chance, and Change Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Ransom published in 2009.
Part 1 Quotes

For a long moment the taws hang there at the top of their flight; as if, in the father's grave retelling of these events, he were allowing for a gap to be opened where this time round some higher agency might step in and, with the high-handed indifference of those who have infinite power over the world of conjunction and accident, reverse what is about to occur.

Related Characters: Achilles, Patroclus
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:

[B1] He was waiting for the rage to fill him that would be equal at last to the outrage he was committing. That would assuage his grief, and be so convincing to the witnesses of this barbaric spectacle that he too might believe there was a living man at the centre of it, and that man himself.

Related Characters: Achilles, Patroclus, Hector
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 4 Quotes

[Death] is the hard bargain life makes with us—with all of us, every one—and the condition we share. And for that reason, if for no other, we should have pity for one another's losses.

Related Characters: Priam, Achilles, Patroclus, Hector
Related Symbols: Ransom
Page Number: 184
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Ransom LitChart as a printable PDF.
Ransom PDF

Patroclus Character Timeline in Ransom

The timeline below shows where the character Patroclus appears in Ransom. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
Fate, Chance, and Change Theme Icon
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
...can’t entirely embrace it, which is why he keeps returning to the beach with his “ghosts”—Patroclus and Hector. (full context)
Fate, Chance, and Change Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Empathy Theme Icon
Achilles first met his friend Patroclus as a child, when Patroclus was exiled to the court of Peleus, Achilles’s father. Achilles... (full context)
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
Peleus agreed to allow Patroclus to stay, and Patroclus grew up as Achilles’s adoptive brother, shaping the kind of man... (full context)
Fate, Chance, and Change Theme Icon
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
Now, however, Patroclus himself is dead. Achilles had withdrawn from the fighting at Troy because of an argument... (full context)
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
Achilles did nothing but grieve for two days after Patroclus’s death, pouring dirt over his head in anguish. Eventually, however, Patroclus’s ghost appeared and asked... (full context)
Fate, Chance, and Change Theme Icon
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
After tending to Patroclus’s body, Achilles sought out Hector for a duel to the death. In the ensuing battle,... (full context)
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
The Epic and the Everyday Theme Icon
...state. Furious, Achilles once more ties the body to his chariot and drags it around Patroclus’s burial mound, where Achilles has already sacrificed numerous dogs, horses, and human prisoners in an... (full context)
Part 4
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Empathy Theme Icon
...man. Automedon may be loyal and tactful, but he is also the one who caught Patroclus when he fell and defended his body from the Trojan army—two tasks Achilles feels belonged... (full context)
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
Achilles sees a figure, whom he at first mistakes for Patroclus. As the figure approaches, however, he sees that it is an old man and thinks... (full context)
Fate, Chance, and Change Theme Icon
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
...has been trying to both assuage and prove his own anger, pride, and love for Patroclus. Now, however, he is able to see the gods’ protection of Hector’s body as fitting... (full context)