Achilles and Patroklos’ Death: Myth Review

Categories: Achilles Iliad

The Iliad of Homer centers around Achilleus, a hero to the Achaians. While he may be seen as a hero in the eyes of his comrades, Achilleus’ changes throughout the epic poem parallel that of an anti-hero. The best way to understand the growth Achilleus undergoes in The Iliad of Homer is to not focus on how he is a hero but how he is an anti-hero. A hero is often perceived as someone who has divine characteristics. While Achilleus is semi-divine, the changes he undergoes and the flaws he presents are human.

Heroes in modern perception are selfless. They protect the innocent against the corrupt; they are black and white characters. Achilleus is a grey character who is selfish, prideful, and lacks mercy. These qualities are not heroic rather, anti-heroic because they encompass human flaws. However, like an anti-hero, Achilleus also redeems himself by the end of his story.

In the earlier books of The Iliad of Homer, Achilleus is painted as a man who has been dishonored.

Get quality help now
Prof. Finch
Prof. Finch
checked Verified writer

Proficient in: Free Essays

star star star star 4.7 (346)

“ This writer never make an mistake for me always deliver long before due date. Am telling you man this writer is absolutely the best. ”

avatar avatar avatar
+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

He feels that he has not received the recognition he deserves and because of that, he will no longer fight against the Trojans. Achilles does not even care about the lives of his comrades anymore. For example, when Patroklos comes back upset because the Achaians are losing in battle, Achilleus states, “Or is it the Argives you are morning over, and how they are dying against the hollow ships by reason of their own arrogance” (Homer 16.16-18).

It is not inherently wrong for Achilles to be upset at Agamemnon and want to seek revenge against him.

Get to Know The Price Estimate For Your Paper
Number of pages
Email Invalid email

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

"You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy"
Write my paper

You won’t be charged yet!

However, it is wrong for him to want innocent men let alone his allies die in order to make Agamemnon suffer. A hero would not do this. Achilleus' selfishness is horrendous but it is a common quality in anti-heroes. Anti-heroes do not care how their goals are met. Their moral compasses are tailored to fit their own benefits just like average humans. Achilles is demonstrating a human flaw and continues to do so throughout the earlier books of The Iliad of Homer.

Achilles quickly goes through a change of character in book eighteen upon hearing the news of his beloved companion Patroklos’ death. In earlier books, Achilles is seen as being selfish, stubborn, and not compassionate at all to the plight of the Achaians. As with many anti-heroes, it takes a personal loss to see a dramatic change in their characters. Patroklos' death enrages Achilles so much that he forgives Agamemnon for his dishonor just so he can go fight the Trojans and slay Hektor.

While Achilles is now willing to fight for the Achaians again, it is not because they were being slaughtered on the battlefield, it is because he wishes to avenge Patroklos’ death. Achilles is still selfish but now he has gone from being full of pride to being full of hate. Even with this flaw Achilles is still painted in a sympathetic light as seen in book eighteen: “And he himself, mightily in his might, in the dust lay at length, and took and tore at his hair with his hands, and defiled it” (Homer 18.26-27). The audience can sympathize with Achilles because he is grieving over the loss of a friend something any person could relate to. This scene makes Achilles softer, more human, and more of an anti-hero. An anti-hero can be sympathized because of the harsh events they have gone through, just like Achilles in book eighteen.

Achilleus goes through one more change before the end of The Iliad of Homer. From books eighteen to books twenty-three Achilleus is filled with rage and bloodlust towards Hektor. He lacks compassion and mercilessly slaughters anyone who gets in the way of his revenge. Achilleus is so angry that when Hektor is dead he defiles his body for twelve days. He is madly obsessed over the idea of sullying Hektor’s body as if doing so will return Patroklos. This attitude changes completely when Achilleus meets with Priam. The conversation with Priam and initiates the final change in Achilleus. Priam goes to ransom Hektor’s body after being told to by the .

Achilleus was also told by Thetis to give the body back to Priam when he comes for it. It is the scene where Priam begs for his son’s body that Achilleus goes through a final change. Achilleus at the mention of his father Peleus, cries, for him and for Patroklos. Priam and Achilleus, two enemies, both cry together each morning his own losses. Achilleus comforts Priam and says, “But bear up nor morn endlessly in your heart, for there is nothing to be gained from grief for your own son; you will never bring him back” Homer 24.549-551).

By stating this Achilleus also finally accepts his friend Patroklos’ death. After all the torment and anguish Achilleus has gone through, he can be at peace. He no longer has to keep fighting for revenge or for honor his job is done. The last stage an anti-hero goes through is finally accomplishing his goal and then having everything lay to rest. Achilleus has met his goal and can now be at ease.

Updated: Feb 20, 2024
Cite this page

Achilles and Patroklos’ Death: Myth Review. (2024, Feb 20). Retrieved from

Live chat  with support 24/7

👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!

Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.

get help with your assignment