Essay on Achilles Is Compassion From Book 24

Essay on Achilles Is Compassion From Book 24

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Throughout the Illiad Achilles’s rage does not seem to mature or improve but instead he develops compassion. Achilles will become enraged with many things, being the seizure of his women Briseis by Agamemnon or the death of his beloved friend Patroklos, and once he is enraged nothing will seem to calm him down. During the time in which Achilles is angry no amounts of gifts will snap him out of it, and once he calms down he spites those who angered him. This is important because Agamemnon needs Achilles for success, but in Achilles anger he seemed to have second thoughts for war and threatened to leave altogether. But this is were I believe Achilles develops compassion from book 1 to book 24 because in the beginning of the story when he is enraged by Agamemnon stealing Briseis, he spites Agamemnon and wishes his mother goddess, Thetis, to request the gods aid troy in the war, whereas in the end of the story when requested by Priam to give back his sons body, Hektor, he did so even though Hektor was responsible for the death of Patroklos.
To begin with Achilles and examples of his unchanged rage starting with this passage right after Agamemnon told Achilles he will take Achilles’s prize, Briseis, “Grief came upon the son of Peleus, and within his shaggy breast his heart was divided, whether he should draw his sharp sword from beside his thigh, and break up the assembly, and slay the son of Atreus, or stay his anger and curb his spirit.” (Book 1). His anger was also similar when he was dragging along the body of Hektor “Neither would he fail to mark the Dawn, as she shone over the sea and the sea-beaches, but would yoke beneath the car his swift horses, and bind Hector behind the chariot to drag him withal; and when he had haled hi...


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...his brows spake to him Achilles swift of foot: “Provoke me no more, old sir; I am minded even of myself to give Hector back to thee…” (book 24). But Achilles even goes to the length of allowing Priam the time to properly bury his dead son showing that his rage has been subdued by compassion “If thou indeed art willing that I accomplish for goodly Hector his burial, then in doing on this wise, O Achilles, wilt thou do according to my wish… For nine days ' space will we wail for him in our halls, and on the tenth will we make his funeral, and the folk shall feast, and on the eleventh will we heap a barrow over him, and on the twelfth will we do battle, if so be we must.” Then spake to him in answer swift-footed, goodly Achilles:“Thus shall this also be aged Priam, even as thou wouldest have it; for I will hold back the battle for such time as thou dost bid.” (book 24).

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