Achilles Essay

715 Words2 Pages

In the Iliad, the warrior Achilles is initially portrayed as arrogant and spiteful. Towards the end of the epic, however, he turns aside his puerile ways and fulfills his duties to his companions. Achilles' progression as a character is like that of a person from childhood to adulthood. The first book of the Iliad paves the way for the rest of the epic. During the ninth year of the Trojan War, Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae, takes Achilles' concubine, Briseis. As a result, Achilles withdraws from fighting in the Trojan War. He cries to his mother, the sea-nymph Thetis. This reaction is petty, and similar to how a child would act when something he wants is confiscated. Achilles entreats his mother to implore Zeus, the king of the …show more content…

Instead, he says to him, “Past...all other Achaean comrades/we long to be your closest, dearest friends.” (9.784-5) While Achilles still spurns the notion of returning to battle, he answers warmly to this approach, and decides to remain at Troy. Achilles' willingness to listen to his peers is another sign that he has an immature, adolescent viewpoint. Achilles first shows signs of responsibility seven books later, when Patroclus, his loyal comrade, begs him to return to the field of battle. Achilles refuses to fight, but he says, “Still, by god, I said I would not relax my anger/not till the cries and the carnage reach my own ships.” (16.71-2) This statement shows that Achilles is willing to fight in the war, but he does not want to admit that he was wrong to withdraw. Achilles does, however, send Patroclus to fight his in his stead, clad in his own armor. When Patroclus dies at the hands of Hector, a Trojan prince, Achilles decides to act like adult, and let go of his anger towards Agamemnon. He laments “...All those burning desires.../but what joy to me now? My dear comrade's dead...” (18.92-4) When the warrior says this, he admits that he has been foolish, and decides to seek vengeance for the death of his

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