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Of Redemption In The Illiad In 'The Iliad'

Decent Essays
Achilles: Let the Redeemed Say So
Some basic human needs are specific. Some needs are universal. One need, that is both specific and universal, is the need to be redeemed. Every human experiences this basic need (whether they know it or not). The tale of Achilles in Homer’s epic, The Iliad, is a masterful account of man’s redemption. Redemption is to be set free, and the word “redeem” means to essentially purchase or pay for something; freedom is bought with a price. Homer used the loss of Achilles’ friend to demonstrate the price of redemption. Achilles’ journey is a redemptive story in which he found freedom from his anger, pride, and selfish motives.
Achilles’ path to redemption began when he freed himself of the anger and rage that
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Achilles was arrogant, stubborn and he held an overly high view of himself. In his wrath, he alienated himself from not only his allies but also from humanity. “But Achilles weeping went and sat in sorrow apart from his companions” (69; bk.1, ln.348-349). Ignoring the consequences, he still withdrew himself from the war.
And this shall be a great oath before you: some day longing for Achilleus will come to the sons of the Achaians, all of them. Then stricken at heart though you be, you will be able to do nothing, when in their numbers before man-slaughtering Hektor they drop and die. And then you will eat the heart within you in sorrow, that you did no honor to the best of the Achaians (65; bk.1, ln.239-244).
Achilles knew that the Achaians could not win the war without him. His alienation was the catalyst for the destruction awaiting the Achaians. He was aware of this, but, because of his pride, he did nothing to stop it. When Priam visited Achilles to redeem the body of his son Hektor, Achilles showed a more humane side of himself. “So [Priam] spoke, and stirred in [Achilles] a passion of grieving for his own father” (488; bk.24, ln.507). Priam appealed to Achilles’ human emotions by speaking of his father; he provoked sympathy in Achilles. Achilles had integrated himself with humanity once more and had begun to see life from a mortal point of
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