The Iliad

The Shield of Achilles Symbol Analysis

The Shield of Achilles Symbol Icon
The shield of Achilles is forged by Hephaestus in Book 18. The shield is supernaturally strong, but it also contains a supernatural level of detail. Using many metals, Hephaestus creates a picture of the entire world, starting from the cosmos and working down to the everyday details of human experience. The shield is a symbol of the inextricable link between warfare and all other parts of life. Because the rest of the world is contained in the shield, warfare can be thought of as the key to every other part of life.

The Shield of Achilles Quotes in The Iliad

The The Iliad quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Shield of Achilles. 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:
Honor and Glory Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of The Iliad published in 1998.
Book 18 Quotes

And first Hephaestus makes a great and massive shield…
There he made the earth and there the sky and the sea
and the inexhaustible blazing sun and the moon rounding full
and there the constellations…And he forged on the shield two noble cities filled
with mortal men. With weddings and wedding feasts in one…
But circling the other city camped a divided army
gleaming in battle-gear.

Related Characters: Hephaestus
Related Symbols: The Shield of Achilles
Page Number: 18.558-594
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate v

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu LoreLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderi

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Iliad quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Get the entire The Iliad LitChart as a printable PDF.
The iliad.pdf.medium

The Shield of Achilles Symbol Timeline in The Iliad

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Shield of Achilles appears in The Iliad. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 18
The Gods Theme Icon
Wartime Versus Peacetime Theme Icon
Hephaestus sets to work. He forges the famous shield of Achilles that contains on it a picture of the entire world. It includes the sea, the... (full context)
Book 22
Honor and Glory Theme Icon
The Gods Theme Icon
Fate and Free Will Theme Icon
Mortality Theme Icon
...at Hector and misses, but Athena passes the weapon back to Achilles. Hector’s spear hits Achilles’ shield but cannot pierce it. Hector turns to Deiphobus but cannot find him. He soon realizes... (full context)