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Achilles in “The Iliad” Essay

The telling of the Trojan War within the confines of the Iliad goes above and beyond great lengths to describe and portray many key players but a lot of the main focus was on that of who’s considered to be one of the greatest warriors who has ever lived. This warrior goes by the name of Achilles. The main logic and reasoning behind this key focus is to make sure that readers of the literature have a detailed description, physical or mental implanted into their brain so they can relate, regardless if the actions are positive and or negative. It gives the reader the chance to indulge themselves into the character like if they were at war fighting for what they believe in or what they were told to do. In the beginning Homer’s depiction of Achilles leads one to believe that he is a big bad hard ass that strikes fear in the hearts of many. Yes this is true but as the story unfolds, he is not only this cold blooded warrior, but one that has emotions and shows them. A prime example of his feelings coming out is when he learns of his beloved friends Patroclus’ death. With him actually showing emotions, in contrast to the other warriors this made him well rounded.

Homer starts out with a quick description of Achilles stating how he’s half man half god. This is all thanks to his mother for taking the correct measures and precautions when he was just a baby. By doing this she created a super human warrior of sorts without really even knowing Achilles possesses super human strength that gives him an advantage of most if not all of his competition. He is also described by Homer as having a very close relationship with the gods. No one really knows why, but one can only assume. Another point brought up is that he also has very deep seated character flaws that are always interfering and clouding his judgment so he may out with nobility, integrity, and common sense which makes him intellectually and morally cursed in a sense.

A great example of his irrational decision making is when says to hell with this was and decides to abandon his comrades and puts victory in jeopardy all because he had felt the upmost disrespect coming from his commander Agamemnon. “Achilles is a man of noble principles all throughout the poem. His argument with Agamemnon is a testament to that.” He pretty much turns into a spoiled brat because he can’t get his way and he doesn’t like what is being said to him. He is also very self-centered and egotistical. He wants to be the center of attention and be a part of the history books and with the pride he has and the tendency to follow that big ego of his is preordained. He eventually has to choose between fame and what comes along with it or being at a relaxed chill like comfort lever. He decides to go with the fame.

Already considered by most to be blood thirsty, prideful, and full of wrath. It really starts to show once Patroclus is murdered in battles after the Trojans thought that it was Achilles that they were killing. Adhering to Patroclus’ pre death advice of patching up things with his commander he does so but in turns focuses all his hatred and anger towards Hector. You would think he was keep calm and so things a little different after his friends’ death but he learned nothing and seems like his friend died in vain in a sense. Achilles leads his men on what can be considered a suicide mission of sorts to kill Hector. Once that’s done he desecrates Hector’s body and slays 12 Trojans warriors and Petroclus’ funeral.

These actions are the epitome of what Achilles stands for and represents. Under his blood thirsty and angry exterior, he has a break when King Priam pleads and begs for his son’s body back and by doing so something triggers in Achilles brain about his dad so he decides to return Hector’s body back to his father. Afterwards he’s back to normal in the proverbial sense and he has no idea that his prideful and egotistical ways will be the downfall and death of him. When he was dipped in the river Styx as infant, one vital part of his body was left venerable, his heels. After the Iliad concludes he was later shot in the heel by an arrow belonging to the brother of Hector, Paris.

Even though Achilles doesn’t show growth throughout the epic, he is the epitome of a Homeric character because he lacks control, character, depth, and has a huge lust like appetite for fame.

Works Cited

“Analysis of Achilles’ Personality Growth in Homer’s the Iliad” StudyMode.com. 03 2007. 03 2007 . Character of Achilles in Homer’s Iliad.” 123HelpMe.com. 18 Jul 2013 .


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