As you know, Old English stories like these ones have their own individual beliefs and cultures. Around this period of time, twelve hundred B.C., it is important to follow the culture and beliefs they were born into or developed together along the way. Achilles believed it was only fair to torture the one who killed his best friend, as to Beowulf who was not one to seek revenge. “Indeed, he had in mind for Hector’s body outrage and shame. Behind both feet he pierced the tendons, heel to ankle. Rawhide cords he drew through both and lashed them to his chariot, letting the mans head trail.” (246-250) Homer. Achilles had in mind a vulgar plan on how to dispose of Hector’s body in the worst way possible. He tied Hector to his chariot, by his feet, and drove to drag his body into pieces until he was dismantled. The Greek warrior, Achilles, found no mercy in Hector for killing Potroclus. He did what any other Greek warrior would’ve done for a loved one. Their belief in revenge is so strong and profound that it could lead them to the death of a person.
Achilles views as demonstrated before, clearly shows the change that has taken place in him, where once he would leaped at an opportunity to battle for glory and honor, now he shows reservation. Achilles is reluctant to risk his life on a fool's errand, for glory and honor. He is disenchanted about honor and all life effort to gain honor no matter how great it might be. He felt they were nothing but the personal honor and glory of others. But, of course, Achilles never actually leaves, although he threatens
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.
From the first pages of Homer’s The Iliad, Achilles is portrayed as vengeful, proud, and petty. As the book progresses, the image of Achilles as a spiteful child is sharpened dramatically. Towards the end of the epic; however, Achilles begins to exhibit qualities that are considered heroic even in today’s society. Once his loyal and trusted friend Patroclus dies, Achilles undergoes a drastic change in character. When he confronts the true horror of death, Achilles puts aside his immature
Honor: honesty, fairness, or integrity in one 's beliefs and actions; this is the definition by which these two characters, Hector and Achilles, ought to be judged. By taking this definition to heart, Achilles is far from honorable. Throughout the Iliad, Achilles acts on rage and revenge. “Rage-Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles, murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaens countless losses, hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls, great fighters’ souls, but made their bodies carrion, feasts for the dogs and birds…” (1, 1-5) From the beginning of the epic the reader learns of Achilles rage and wants for
“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.
From the discussion about book nine of the Iliad, the reasoning behind Achilles’ actions was discussed and the theme of freedom vs. fate was discovered. Book nine is considered to be the climax of the Iliad because it is a turning point in the war and the Greeks realize that they need Achilles. Agamemnon offers a multitude of gifts and gives a rather lame apology in the hopes of Achilles returning, however Achilles refuses the gifts. The Greeks all questioned Achilles’ mindset for they did not understand why he would refuse the gifts and glory offered to him. Considering how in these times, the Greeks associate honor with material objects, Achilles has just denied himself an opportunity to receive honor and a legacy. He became an outsider among
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
At the battle of Troy, Achilles chooses almost certain death in exchange for the honor of avenging Patroclus. As Socrates paraphrases, “when his mother said to him, as he was eager to slay Hector, ‘My son, if you avenge the death of your friend Patroclus and kill Hector, you yourself shall die; for straightway, after Hector, is death appointed unto you,” (The Apology, 28c). However, Socrates is relatively loose in his representation of Achilles. Homer’s Achilles is focused primarily on private affairs as seen when he only agrees to return to battle to avenge personal loss in the form of his “beloved” Patroclus (The Iliad, book 18, 120). Contrastingly, Socrates represents the Greek hero as being much more absorbed by the necessity of attaining honor and justice for both himself and his peers. Through this specific example, Socrates makes it apparent that, he, like Achilles before him, is both willing and able to die if that is what it takes to find truth. He will under no circumstances condemn any of his actions just to save his life.
He then returns the body to Priam and feels guilty about his friend. “Feel no anger at me, Patroclus, if you learn--- even there in the House of Death--- I let his father have Prince Hector back” (Homer). Achilles wants his friend to forgive him and once again has succumbed to the intense emotions he feel that are out of his control. These emotions have Achilles act on rage and impulse.
Hector’s pride caused him to be clouded with negative thoughts in his quest for revenge as he brutally slaughtered the Trojans and excessively tortured Hector. Nevertheless, Priam’s sorrow causes Achilles to empathize since he could imagine what it would be like if his father had to go through a similar situation like Priam. This change of heart causes Achilles to forgo hatred in exchange for compassion. Although Achilles shows flaws in his character, his heroism even in the brink of death along with this transformative change as a person demonstrates the cultural expectations of strong leadership in terms of taking physical and emotional qualities into strong consideration.
Meanwhile, Hector was often pictured as a strong, valiant man who also had a gentler side, unlike Achilles. Even when facing attacking armies, Hector fought to protect his family from the invading forces and for the survival of his city. It should be noted that before Hector faced the tragedies of the upcoming Trojan War, he blessed his only son and asked Zeus, the god of all gods, to grant his son to be like him, the “first in glory among the Trojans” (340). Though Hector was a better man in a moral sense when compared to Achilles, he still had some flaws. While attempting to eliminate Achilles, Hector mistakenly killed one of Achilles’ closest men, Patroclus, who happened to be wearing Achilles’ armor. After Patroclus’ death, Hector, under the belief that he had defeated the great Achilles, removed the armor from the corpse and wore it, which defiled the warrior’s respect and honor. Also, in “Book 22” of the Iliad, Hector tainted his honor during the arrival of Achilles by leaving “the gates [of Troy] behind and [fleeing] in fear” (347). Even though he fled Achilles, Hector knew that in order to save his people, he must face the great runner, and he did so for Troy. Unfortunately for Hector, he was facing certain death. When Hector took his final stand, Achilles, with Athena’s assistance, dealt the final blow that killed the great Hector. Due to the infinite outrage of the death of Patroclus’ death still dwelling inside of him, Achilles refused to return
Many people have heard of Achilles, whether in Greek Mythology or when referring to the tendon in their foot. He is well known in the Iliad as the main force for the Achaeans in the Trojan War, dubbed the “swiftest warrior,” “Achilles dear to Zeus”, and “brilliant runner.” However many do not know the story of Achilles when he walks away from the Achaean campaign over a scuffle of war prizes. His action cripples the Achaean army, costing the lives of many. The story of the Trojan War is one where Achilles ultimately leads the Achaeans to Troy and kills Hector outside Priam’s walls. However, it was Patroclus, Achilles’ brother-in-arms, who should be accredited with the Achaean victories and know for his success against the Trojans in the
Achilles starts fighting for revenge, while Hector fights to defend Trojan. After Patroclus was killed by Hector, Antilochus told Achilles. “A black cloud of sorrow came upon Achilles as he heard”, and tells his mother that Hector must die from his spear, he “must pay for Patroclus’ death”(149-151). Achilles loses all his humanity and has no mercy after his friend had been killed; however Hector holds on to his humanity while fighting. Achilles began killing Trojans mercilessly until he got what he wanted, because the vengeance for his friend mattered more than his humanity. Achilles also did not feel remorse when he slaughtered Hector in front of his entire
He expresses no fear during battles. Throughout the Iliad, Achilles ignores the norms of the society primarily because he sees himself as a greater figure than one who has to follow a set of rules. Throughout the poem, Achilles shows how much of a savage he is through his gruesome actions. While fighting Hector, after brutally beating him up, Hector begs Achilles to return his body for a proper burial, a respected act after a battle. “Do not allow the dogs to mutilate my body By the Greek ships”, requested Hector (Homer,433). Achilles responds feeling no remorse, “I wish my stomach would let me cut off your flesh in strips and eat it raw for what you 've done to me. In this passage of the Iliad, Homer illustrates how gruesome Achilles really was. Achilles lets his anger drive his actions, seeking redemption, and he offers no respect to any of his enemies.