The drama found in The Iliad of Homer is not characterized by surprises. The reader always knows what to expect because of the gods' explicit prophecies as well as the behaviors of the mortals. The latter more subtly foreshadows future events. A perfect example is found in book 6, where the conversations and actions that occur tragically foretell the death of Hektor.

Upon returning home, Hektor finds that his wife, Andromache, "had taken her place on the tower in lamentation" (VI.373). Although he is still alive, Andromache has already begun to lament over his death because she is certain of his fate. She even prophetizes to Hektor that his "own great strength will be [his] death" (VI.407), and then she continues to predict that she "soon must be [his] widow" (VI.408). Her belief that he will die is further strengthened by the fact that her family has already suffered because of Achilleus. This single man had killed her father and her seven brothers, and he also took her mother away. Hektor is the only person she has left and she refers to him as her "father, honoured mother,/brother, and young husband" (VI.429-430). Hektor represents all of those who Andromache has lost to Achilleus,...

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