From the first few lines of the Iliad, Achilles’ influence is evident; the poet describes “…Achilles’ rage, / Black and murderous, that cost the Greeks / Incalculable pain, pitched countless souls / Of heroes into Hades’ dark, / And left their bodies to rot as feats” (1.1-5). The extremity of the chaos described is suggestive of the level of power only a god would have, which immediately distinguishes Achilles from ordinary mortals. In the first book alone, Achilles is visited by Hera, Athena, and Thetis, and through Thetis is able to bring a message to Zeus himself, who respects his honor and grants his prayer. Epithets set Achilles apart: he is “godlike Achilles,” the “beloved of Zeus,” and the Greeks’ “most formidable hero” (1.8, 82, …show more content…
As he is about to kill Lycaon, Achilles explains the irony of his mortality: “Take a look at me. Do you see how huge I am, / How beautiful? I have a noble father, / My mother was a goddess, but I too / Am in death’s shadow” (21.114-17). Achilles perpetually struggles to define himself and to understand his place within both the Greek society and the realm of the gods. One of Achilles’ most godlike characteristics is his obsession with personal honor and seemingly coldhearted indifference towards the suffering of the Greeks, as revealed during his argument with Agamemnon: “When every last Greek desperately misses Achilles, / Your remorse won’t do any good then, / When Hector the man-killer swats you down like flies. / And you will eat your heart out / Because you failed to honor the best Greek of all” (1.255-59). However, Achilles does possess a more human, sensitive aspect to his personality that is rarely revealed. There are only two characters in the Iliad that Achilles seems to truly care for: Briseis and Patroclus. Achilles won Briseis in battle, but felt that she was much more than a mere war prize, as he tells Odysseus: “Every decent, sane man / Loves his woman and cares for her, as I did / Loved her from my heart. It doesn’t matter / That I won her with my spear” (9.349-52). Similarly, Achilles cares deeply for Patroclus, referring to him as “my noble friend” and “my Patroclus” (16.52,250). Agamemnon’s decision to take Briseis causes
In the modern world, people, as a society, have always given themselves a goal or goals that they would like to attain at some point during their lifetime. Many people seek to attain riches, love, happiness or high stature within society. When we people set that goal, we tend to mold our lifestyles around it. As people work throughout their lives to achieve this ultimate goal, it becomes apparent to others what it is we are working so hard for. Just as this pattern is evident in modern society, it can also be seen in the times of Homer, particularly in the great Greek epic, the Iliad. This distinct pattern can be seen in Achilles, one of the most vital characters in the story. Achilles, being the ultimate most powerful warrior of all
In my understanding this symbolizes a significant turning point in Achilles point of view when it comes to honor, status, power and glory and puts him on a path toward a downward spiral, which ultimately leads him to doubt and question his personal beliefs on power, glory, status and honor. "Faith is the same for the man who holds back, the same if he fights hard we are all held in a single honor the brave with the weaklings. A man dies still if he has done nothing, as one who has done much. Nothing is won for me now that my heart has gone through his afflictions in forever setting my life on the hazard of battle?(Homer 9.318.206).
The Ancient Greeks admired their heroes and tried to learn from both their achievements and their mistakes. They believed that most great leaders and warriors followed a predictable behavior cycle, which often ended tragically. In Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad, Achilles is a great warrior who traces the stages of the behavior cycle twice, from arete to hubris to ate and then to nemesis. Achilles is a highly skilled warrior and a great leader who becomes a narcissist and an arrogant person, which leads to selfish and childish behavior resulting in the death of his best friend. Following Patroclus’ death, Achilles repeats the behavior cycle by regaining his courage and motivation, and goes back to battle against Hector. The pride he feels in
Socrates’ primary motivation for comparing himself to Achilles, the best of all the classic heroes, is to convince the jury of his Achillean heroism. One attribute of a hero according to the events of the Iliad is that one must either kill or be killed in the pursuit of honor. Correspondingly, the Iliad chronicles Achilles’ life and death on the natural path to heroism. Despite the
During that entire time, Achilles’ justification for wallowing in self-pity is that he has been “dishonored”. This argument becomes null and void when Agamemnon offers lavish compensation for the affront. In addition to returning Briseis, Agamemnon offers Achilles seven unfired tripods, ten gold bars, twenty burnished cauldrons, a dozen horses, seven beautiful women from Lesbos, twenty Trojan women, his daughters’ hand in marriage along with a rich dowry, and the ownership of seven populous cities. Any reasonable person would have taken the offer but not prideful, bitter Achilles. Instead he continues on with the same old rhetoric and refuses to fight. As if standing idly by while his countrymen were being killed was not enough, Achilles has his mother call in a favor to Zeus asking him to help the Trojans so that even more Greeks would die during his absence. Not only did he abandon his comrades, he actually prayed for them to die because his pride had been hurt.
In Homer’s epic, Iliad, Achilles is one of the main figures of the Trojan War. Achilles’ beliefs that he defines throughout the passage are influenced by the manipulations of war that he encounters, along with a focus on what the idea of glory entails and the effects that it has on one’s honor. They are two separate concepts, he recognizes, and during the Trojan War he knew that he could not have both. In the selected passage from Book Nine, it is clear that Achilles, the Greek warrior, questions and reevaluates the idea of honor and glory, as he believes honor and glory are inherently incompatible, thus causing him to sacrifice one in order to have the other. This reevaluation emphasizes the abnormal attitude from a once fierce warrior and
This is just one of the many examples of how Achilles is ruled by his emotions, of how him being the son of Zeus and Thetis aids him in his goals and gives him an upper hand. He is favored not only by Athena, but also by Hera, and indirectly by Zeus, who tries to maintain neutrality throughout the course of the Iliad. There are various occasions on which the God’s interfere, each trying to help either the Trojans or the Achaeans. On more than one occasion, Thetis interferes on behalf of her son, trying to gain him some ground by calling in the favors that she
The Iliad: Book I, is about the conflict between Achilles and Agamemnon in the beginning of the Trojan War. It shows how vigorous Achilles’ rage was and that he is no one to mess with. The book states “Peleus’ son Achilles, murderous, doomed”. This shows his fury in just a few words. Achilles was a Greek hero who was the son of a Goddess named Thetis. He was an incredible solder; brave, violent and godlike. However, Agamemnon was the commander of the Achaean Army. He was greedy, aggressive and selfish. He was described as “the most grasping man alive”. He absolutely hated Achilles. I feel that he was jealous of how respected Achilles was among the ranks in the army because of his superior skills in the field of battle. Agamemnon claimed Chryseis as his prize, after sacking a Trojan town. Chryseis was a daughter of a Priest of Apollo, Chryses. He offered an enormous ransom to get his daughter back. At first Agamemnon didn’t want it but the people round him persuaded him that it would be best to let her go so they could be released from the plague that Apollo put on them. Agamemnon then poised to Achilles that he is going to steal Achilles prize, Briseis. This is when Achilles’ rage shows at its best. He nearly draws his sword to kill Agamemnon but he is stopped by the goddess, Athena.
The ease with which he could dispatch his enemy seemed to give Achilles pleasure, not the wealth and power which came with ruling his small kingdom. His war-brides would have undoubtedly given him the pleasurable attention he needed, but unfortunately even this luxury was denied him. The circumstances surrounding Chryseis and Briseis (two war-brides captured in an attack on a town allied with Troy) led to the unsteady relationship between Achilles and Agamemnon. When Agamemnon took Achilles' war-bride Briseis for himself, Achilles withdrew himself from battle. The result of Achilles' withdrawal was that Patroclus went into battle posing as Achilles in order to bolster the spirit of the Achaean army. This unfortunately led the death of Patroclus. This only helped to
The Iliad, the Greek epic documented by Homer that describes the battles and events of the ten year siege on Troy by the Greek army. Both Trojans and Greeks had their fair share of heroes and warriors, but none could match the skill and strength of the swift runner, Achilles. Achilles had the attributes of a perfect warrior with his god-like speed and combat abilities. However, even though he was Greek’s greatest warrior, he still possessed several flaws that made him fit the role of the Tragic Hero impeccably. Defined by Aristotle, a Tragic Hero is someone who possesses a high status of nobility and greatness, but must have imperfections so that mere mortals cannot relate to the hero. Lastly, the Tragic Hero’s downfall must be partially
Throughout the entire Trojan war, Achilles spent most of his time pouting in his tent after Agamemnon kidnapped his prized maiden, Chryseis. He also lets his best friend, Patroclus, go into battle alone only to die when Hector kills him with his spear. Achilles joins the war when he hears of Patrclus death, but it was not out of bravery; out of guilt, revenge and anger, when he hears of his friend's death. When Achilles kills Hector, he binds his feet to his chariot and drags his body around the walls of Troy. In my opinion this was not an act of heroism. But in the Iliad the Greeks loved Achilles. Achilles was considered half mortal and half God. Achilles has all the characteristics of a heroic warrior on a grand scale, and he possesses more than a common measure of all the merits and all the faults of a hero (Bowra 193). All of Achilles traits and glory are won primarily in battle, which sets Achilles apart from Hector because Achilles knows little about home and family. He has no wife: his father he has not seen in years; his mother, even though she helps him but he cannot help her and she isn't even a human being (Bowra 194).
The Iliad opens in the predicament of the Greeks who have somehow incurred the wrath of the gods. It is here that Agamemnon, supreme commander of the Grecian army, demand that Achilles give up his “prize” (Briseis) to replace his own “prize” (Chrysies) which he has to give up to appease the gods. Agamemnon has to
There are many reasons why Achilles changes in “The Iliad” by Homer including he was aggressive, brave, and sad in the beginning of the text. First and foremost, Achilles, in the beginning, was aggressive. In the text, “Achilles was in an ice cold fury”(Homer 25) is a perfect example of this. This directly shows that Achilles had hostile behavior because he was in such fury. Secondly, Achilles was not afraid in the beginning of the text. In the text, “Achilles was not afraid” (Homer 28). This directly shows that Achilles was not afraid. Finally, Achilles was sad in the beginning of the text. In the text, “Achilles sulked by his ships” (Homer 33). Because Achilles is just sulking by the ships, he must be very sad.
This decision of prideful betrayal brings many casualties to the Achaean army. Once Agamemnon apologetically offers Achilles many valuable gifts along with the return of his war prize, Achilles refuses. In this rejection, Achilles is putting his own animosity toward Agamemnon above the needs of his fellow Achaeans. His friend Phoenix tells him to think of his diminishing honor, but Achilles answers, “…what do I need with honor such as that ?/ … It degrades you to curry favor with [Agamemnon],/ and I will hate you for it, I who love you./ It does you proud to stand by me, my friend,/ to attack the man who attacks me…”(p 147). Not only does Achilles reject honor, but he egotistically asks his father figure, Phoenix, to give up his in order to take his side.
Achilles has been considered the greatest hero of the Greeks in the Iliad for numerous valid reasons. Similarly, Achilles not only stays humble, but extremely courageous. Waiting patiently for Hector, Achilles says, “No man so long as I am alive above Earth… and see daylight shall lay the weight even if you mean Agamemnon.” (1.88-90) In this statement, Achilles says that no one should ever have power over him. “So, must one be called of no account and a coward if I must carry out every order you may happen to give me….” (6.293-303) Clearly, he fears no one and does not understand the meaning of failure. Achilles constantly acts as man of fierce strength and courage.