“Rage—Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles, murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses.” (The Iliad, Page 77) Apollo had sent a plague upon the Greek camp causing may greeks to die, trying to help Chryses get his daughter back. Calchas offered to help fight the plague. Though he fears Agamemnon’s vengeance, Calchas reveals the plague as a vengeful and strategic move by Chryses and Apollo. Agamemnon flies into a rage and says that he will return Chryseis only if Achilles gives him Briseis.
Agamemnon’s rage, cowardliness and bad leadership also plays some parts of his refusal. Just like Helen, Bresies also had an effect on Achilles to judgement to refusing Agamemnon’s ransom. He was in love with her and Agamemnon dishonors him and takes her away and that makes Achilles angry. In the Iliad, beautiful women are the main reason to war and rage. Achilles has nothing to lose because “son of Atreus” (9.369) already took his honor, reputation and his Bresies. Even if Achilles “let[s] [his] heart-devouring anger go!” (9.316) for his companions that would never restore what he already lost. “Obviously, all religions fall far short of their own ideals.” (Ernest Becker, The Denial of
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.
Achilles, on the other hand, can almost be fully comprehended from his initial disagreement with Agamemnon. Agamemnon's unreasonable actions seem to justify Achilles' refusal to engage his men in battle, primarily, because his pride will not allow him to act. Achilles believes himself to be the most important man in the army and the injury cannot be forgiven. Even when a diplomatic escape is contrived by Agamemnon, Achilles sees his position as unchanged-doubtlessly, Odysseus would have relented but Achilles is unable to forget past grievances.
This just emphasizes how Achilles was not just concerned about his soldiers and showing face, but he was more driven by his rage and his grudge against Agamemnon for what he did to him.
But on the other hand, Homer wants to show that the abscence of anger can lead to good actions and help to make right decisions. It is well presented when after the reconciliation Achilles becomes more then just a warrior hero. His wrath consists of two waves. First, is his withdrawal from the battle because of the conflict with Agamemnon ends when he finally accepts his offer and reaches agreement about Briseis. Second Achilles' wave of anger is about the death of Patroklos, which ends when he returns the body of a dead Hector to Priam. In both examples the wrath of Achilles alianated him from others. In the firt case he was alienated from his warriors. And from everybody in the second case. In each case, his reconciliation helps him to get back to the society. If
In the beginning of The Iliad, Achilles and Agamemnon are in a quarrel with each other. Agamemnon captured the daughter of the priest Chryses. Although Chryses offers Agamemnon a ransom to get back his daughter, Agamemnon declines the ransom. Chryses informs Apollo, who in response plagues the Greeks. After the plague occurs, Achilles advises Agamemnon to “return the girl to the gods” (1:81). Agamemnon refuses to give her back unless he gets Briseis in exchange. Achilles is frustrated by Agamemnon’s threats because he believes his contributions to the army are overlooked and depreciated. By depriving Achilles of Briseis, Agamemnon tries to convey that he retains authority over Achilles. As Achilles mentions to Patroclus, “That’s the pain that wounds me, suffering such humiliation. That girl… I won her with my spear, but right from my grasp he [Agamemnon] tears her” (XVI: 63-66). Hence, Achilles suffers humiliation in result of Agamemnon taking Briseis from him. The humiliation he witnessed when he lost authority to Agamemnon damaged his pride and masculinity, which makes him distraught and
Achilles then proceeds to urge the rest of the Greeks to sail home and abandon the war in Troy. Although this seems to imply that Achilles has given up his youthful brashness, he also mercilessly insults Agamemnon in the same book. His refusal to let go of his anger and his concern for his own future indicate a more adolescent or young adult viewpoint, rather than his previous childishness.
In the Greek society, Achilles has the role of the aggressive soldier. From the very first lines of the epic, we are introduced to Achilles’ murderous rage:
“Remind him of that, now, go and sit beside hime, grasp his knees... see how mad he was to disgrace Achilles, the best of the Achaean” (1, 484-490). This pacifies Achilles’ rage briefly while he goes back to the ships and refuses to help the struggling Achaeans on the battlefield because Agamemnon hurt his pride. Another instance that highlights Achilles flaw of anger is when the great Trojan warrior, Hector, kills Achilles close comrade Patroclus. Achilles bursts from his sulking attitude out of the Achaean ships in a rage of passionate fury that even his pride cannot overcome. “My dear comrade’s dead... Hector’s battered down by my spear and gasps away his life, the blood-price for Patroclus, Menotius’ gallant son he’s killed and stripped” (18, 94-109). This signifies Achilles’ zenith of anger and represents the turning point in the epic, along with the transition into his dramatic reversal as a character.
Angry and calling Agamemnon a hypocrite, he states, “I hate it like I hate hell / the man who says one thing and think another” (168). Strategically beginning his soliloquy with a hostile accusation sets the tone for the rest of the speech. This tone and structure is harsh, hyperbolic, and jumps between the two arguments from which he bases his response: “He cheated me, wronged me. Never again” (170), Achilles declares, focusing on the loss of honor and placing blame on Agamemnon. Just 29 lines after, however, Achilles switches his focus to the other reason for leaving. “Nothing is worth my life, not all the riches / they say Troy held before the Greeks came…” (171). This quick shift of focus is similar to a rant going back and forth between arguments. His mind is not balancing on one thought, but rather driven by emotions and rhetorical questions. For example, he brings up, “why do the Greeks have to fight the Trojans?” “Why did Agamemnon lead the army to Troy if not for the sake of fair-haired Helen?” “And now he thinks he’s going to win me back?” (169). This tone and these rhetorical questions serve to exaggerate and humanize the argument. Achilles can only deal with so much—he is only human, after all, and must be treated like one. He is not Agamemnon’s war puppet. The meaning and purpose for Achilles’ rant is not muddled in the harsh and edgy speech; it is simply shown in various ways. He will not fight for Agamemnon and is making it
Achilles’ pride is the usual trigger and fuel for his rage. In Book 1 of the Iliad, during the strategy meeting on how to deal with Apollo’s curse on the Greek camp, Achilles’ honor is threatened by Agamemnon. This insult to the prideful warrior almost leads to Achilles physically lashing out against his commander. It takes a god coming down from Mt. Olympus to quell his fury and to put his mind right. Not long after, Agamemnon follows through with his boast to take Achilles’ prize and delivers on the dishonor he had threaten Achilles with. This assault on Achilles’ pride causes him to withdraw from the war effort, to spite Agamemnon and his arrogance. His rage against Agamemnon is fueled by his wounded pride, keeping Achilles out of combat until after Book 18, where a new event ignites a terrifying fury within Achilles’ heart.
Achilles questions himself, "Should he draw the long sharp sword slung at his hip, thrust through the ranks and kill Agamemnon now?--or check his rage and beat his fury down?" (108). Here, Hera has Athena intervene to keep Achilles from killing Agamemnon, which shows how the gods control Achilles' destiny. The argument between Achilles and Agamemnon clearly shows that the two men have different opinions about the power of the gods, what is holy or unholy, and what is proper treatment of other men. These differences are one source of Achilles' rage.
When it comes to fighting, Achilles is the best. No man can best him, and any army with him in their ranks has very good odds of winning. On the other hand, his sense of duty is overshadowed by his arrogance. He fights for the Greeks, but doesn’t obey King Agamemnon as a subject. When Agamemnon steals his prize, Briseis, he gets upset and doesn’t fight, causing a loss in the Greek army. Achilles declares, “What a worthless, burnt-out coward I'd be called if I would submit to you and all your orders, whatever you blurt out. Fling them at others, don’t give me commands!” (Homer, 104) Though Achilles is the mightiest warrior alive, he is unreliable, compulsive to every whim and feeling of discontent. Hector, on the contrary, is
One of the main contrasting characteristics of Achilles is his anger. It is apparent from the first sentence of the book, “Rage–Goddess, sing the rage of