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Achilles: The Tragic Hero Essay

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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…show more content…
“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. Once Achilles decides to go after Hector to seek revenge for his fallen comrades death, he seals his fate of living a short life full of glory, rather than going back home to live a quiet, uneventful life in peace. This shows a dramatic reversal in Achilles character as his desire to defend his loved ones overcomes his pride from defying Agamemnon. In honor of Patroclus, Achilles comes out from the Achaean ships and
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