The Shield of Achilles (which for copyright reasons cannot be reprinted here) is one of my own personal favourites from among the later poems of W. H. Auden. Although poem, written in 1952, alludes to scenes from Iliad, it is actually a depiction of the contemporary world as Auden saw it. In the Iliad, Achilles lends his armour to Patroclus who is subsequently killed Hector. Achilles has new armour made for him by Hephaestus.
In the poem Thetis, Achilles’ mother, notices that contrary to her expectations the shield has scenes that horrify emblazoned on it. The world Thetis sees is not what she expects. Instead of a an ordered civilized world where there is harmony in everything, what she sees is a cruel and uncaring world. Read on