At its core, the epic poem, The Iliad of Homer, is a story about a hero’s rage and how it affects the war that is taking place around him. This hero is Achilles and he shapes the epic through both his actions and inactions during the Trojan War. Achilles is the most powerful warrior among the Achaians and this is shown during his battles. In fact, his power becomes so great at times that he abuses it and wreaks havoc unjustly. This is the case with Achilles’s murder and subsequent treatment of the likewise powerful warrior Hector.
The subject of Homer’s epic poem, the Iliad, is very clearly stated--it is “the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles.” The reader remains continually aware of the extent of Achilles’ rage, yet is never told the reason why Achilles remains angry and unreconciled. There is no definitive answer to this question. Achilles is not a static character. He is constantly changing; thus the question of why he remains angry solicits different answers at various stages throughout the poem. To find an answer, the reader must carefully examine Achilles’ ever-changing dilemma involving the concepts of mortality and honor. At its simplest, Achilles’ dilemma is that if he goes to war, he will die. But he will die with glory.
The readers can obtain a chance to become acquainted with Achilles’ character. The readers have the opportunity to witness that he absolutely does not care for the war too much and he has not fought just for his town, he fights for himself. He yearns to kill people who have done wrong and deserve to die. Achilles embodies himself, not to seem selfish, (but because) that is just who he is and how his character’s unique personality. Achilles fights in these wars knowing that his people need him and he wants a war that all humanity, in millions of years will remember. As he talks to Odysseus, he asks why he should fight the war and Odysseus says he should fight for Greece knowing that Troy has insulted them. Achilles, at that instant, brings up an outstanding point saying “They insulted one Greek, a man who couldn 't hold on to his wife. What business is that of mine?” This shows he does not think highly of Grease therefore he will not fight for Greece until he has a reason. Any man should fight for the right reason and Achilles is one of the only ones in this war that understands that
Throughout the Iliad the warriors' dream of peace is projected over and over again in elaborate similes developed against a background of violence and death. Homer is able to balance the celebration of war's tragic, heroic values with scenes of battle and those creative values of civilized life that war destroys. The shield of Achilles symbolically represents the two poles of human condition, war and peace, with their corresponding aspects of human nature, the destructive and creative, which are implicit in every situation and statement of the poem and are put before us in something approaching abstract form; its emblem is an image of human life as a whole.
He portraits Achilles as a mystical hero, a brave militant, with honorable qualities. To many this will be a great characteristic of a noble man, but his anger and pride becomes his downfault. Home starts the poem with, “Goddess, sing me the anger, of Achilles, Peleus’ son, that fatal anger that brought countless sorrows on the Greeks, and sent many valiant souls of warriors down to Hades, leaving their bodies as spoil for dogs and carrion birds: for thus was the will of Zeus brought to fulfilment. Sing of it from the moment when Agamemnon, Atreus’ son, that king of men, parted in wrath from noble Achilles (Homer Bk1).” An anger that took the life of many soldiers because of Achilles selfishness. Glen W. Most, explains that, “Homer does indeed tell of Achilles’ wrath – but he recounts not only, first, his wrath against Agamemnon, “which laid countless woes upon the Achaeans,” but also, second, his wrath against Hector after Hector has slain Patroclus (Most 50).” These examples of anger have not chance throughout generations. Anger, violence and war has always been a common felling, that it is a part of all men and these feelings can be seen from the poem of Home to World War 1 and from dictators planning war against another country to bullies harassing a childhood
... to fight this war and cause suffering. But this is Homer’s final trick. Homer takes the reader, and Achilles and makes them equal. Achilles gets to realize the love and justice that the reader gets to understand, but also the helplessness of the reader. Achilles is as helpless to alleviate the suffering as the reader is. He realizes that he has no choice and accepts his fate. This is the other way justice and love are revealed in the Iliad, the reader is shown to be the same as the hero, not in his strength but in his helplessness. Both the reader and Achilles are forced to see the love and justice Weil writes about and are rendered helpless, Achilles’ fate sealed by the Gods and ours by Homer. Through the bitterness of the tone, the impartiality of his descriptions of war, and Achilles’ journey Homer “bathes [the Iliad] in the light of love and justice”(pg 25).
Although the Homeric society had Gods to lead its character, still emotion was able to overtake logic and calculated moves in war. Achilles was warned that “[He is] destined for both an early death and misery beyond compare” (Il. 1.438-439) yet, he continues to fight for tîmê and kleos. The pride that comes from success on the battlefield is worth much more than being in safe. Half man, half god, Achilles innately had a more complete scope of the world after his actions. Even though
Achilles' Honor in Homer's Iliad The Greeks placed great importance on personal honor. Why is this? Is it because to them man I nothing without honor. Or is it that the honor is more important than the man?
With these wrathful words of Achilles to his commander Agamemnon, so begins the sequence of events in The Iliad that ultimately pits Achilles the runner against Hector, breaker of horses. Although these men were already enemies, Achilles being an Achaean and Hector being a Trojan, it is truly Achilles’ rage that makes the rivalry personal. These two men, from opposite sides of the battle lines, are both strong, brave, and heroic, but also possess a myriad of conflicting character traits. It is these differences that aid both men in their independent pursuits for honor and the implementation of their separate destinies.
The facts of this conflict are all pretty straight forward and by recounting the facts I hope to bring to light the truths that justify Achilles' anger. First off Agamemnon had distributed the booty fairly and all the more powerful Achaeans had gotten a concubine, Agamemnon just happened to choose the daughter of one of Apollo's priest. When Apollo sends a plague to the Achaean camp Achilles' concern for his comrades leads him to call an assembly with the purpose of interpreting the plague and taking necessary action. Agamemnon reluctantly agrees to return his concubine to her father if he is repaid another concubine by one of the other powerful Achaeans. At this Achilles stands up for himself and the other Achaeans, he insults Agamemnon by saying that Agamemnon claims his greatness. When Agamemnon takes Achilles' concubine, Achilles probably expected the other Achaeans to stand up for him as he had done for them earlier. But he is left alone. His honor insulted by a man that he had served loyally. Humiliated, by a group of people to whom he owed nothing. A great sense of betrayal overcame Achilles.