The Iliad: Achilles' Rage Essay

The Iliad: Achilles' Rage Essay

Length: 1042 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Good Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

`Rage--Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus' son Achilles'

The first line of the Iliad describes a human emotion that leads to doom and destruction in Homer's poetic tale of the Trojan War. Achilles' rage is a major catalyst in the action in the Iliad. It is his rage that makes him both withdraw from and, later, rejoin the war with a fury. Why is Achilles enraged? Is his rage ignited solely by his human adversaries or do the gods destine him to the experience? Achilles' rage has many facets. His rage is a personal choice and, at times, is created by the gods.

The Iliad begins with the clash between Achilles and Agamemnon. Agamemnon has little, if any, respect for the gods. This is displayed by his irreverent behavior towards the priest, Chryses. Agamemnon refuses to release the princess even when the Achaean soldiers suggested "`Respect the priest, accept the shining ransom!' But it brought no joy to the heart of Agamemnon" (104). Achilles is, unlike Agamemnon, respectful of and revered by the gods. In order to expose the cause of Apollo's wrath against the Argive army, Achilles uses the prophet, Calchas. Achilles already knows why Apollo is angry, but decides the fact should be stated by someone other than himself. He knows that Agamemnon will become angry once the truth is revealed. I believe that in this instance he is trying to keep his rage in check by avoiding a direct confrontation with Agamemnon. Calchas also fears for his life because he also knows Agamemnon's fury is unyielding at times. However, with a great deal of encouragement from Achilles, Calchas "spoke out, bravely: `Beware-The god's enraged because Agamemnon spurned his priest'" (106). When the truth is exposed, Agamemnon be...

... middle of paper ...

...Achilles enraged? His rage is a personal choice. He decides to confront Agamemnon. He decides to withdraw from the war. He decides to join the war after Patroclus' death. However, the gods do their parts in making sure that his destiny is carried out. Thetis has new armor made for him and encourages him to fight. Apollo taunts him. Athena intervenes, first to make sure he does not kill Agamemnon and then later to make sure that he does kill Hector. Zeus weighs his fate. Rage is the spawn of many emotions. Injustice, jealousy, un-holiness, revenge, and heartbreak are emotions that sparked Achilles' rage. Homer's tale, the Iliad, shows how Achilles' rage is his destiny.

Works Cited

Homer. "The Iliad." The Norton Anthology World Masterpieces. Ed. Sarah Lawall.

7th ed. Vol.1. W.W.Norton & Company. New York, London, 1999. 104-209.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Pride Fueled Rage: Achilles Essay

- Achilles, the hero and great warrior of the Trojan War, is son of the goddess Thetis and mortal Peleus. He is extremely courageous and has tremendous honor, within his character however, is a juxtaposing inherent flaw of pride entwined with anger. Is it a necessary pride. Do all heroes have this character flaw. In The Iliad, the anger of Achilles is presented from the first line, “ Rage: / Sing Goddess, Achilles’ rage / Black and murderous…” (Line 1-3; p. 107). Here Achilles’ anger is described as rage, a term suitable to describe the anger of a God....   [tags: The Iliad Essays]

Good Essays
1449 words (4.1 pages)

The Character Achilles in Homer's The Iliad Essay

- The Character Achilles in Homer's The Iliad "The first book of The Iliad, appropriately titled the "Rage of Achilles," sets the scene for the remainder of the epic" ( "This rage is invoked by pride, a theme of pivotal importance for the Greeks. Pride is the source of the conflict between Achilles and Agamemnon in Book 1. The incident that provoked Achilles rage took place in the tenth and final year of the Achaean attack on Troy....   [tags: Iliad essays]

Good Essays
979 words (2.8 pages)

The Metamorphosis of Achilles in Homer’s The Iliad Essay

- The Metamorphosis of Achilles in Homer’s The Iliad Dr. Frost’s comments: With his clear explanation, illustrative quotes, and logical organization, the student easily proves his thesis, recapped and affirmed very well in the final paragraph. From the first pages of Homer’s The Iliad, Achilles is portrayed as vengeful, proud, and petty. As the book progresses, the image of Achilles as a spiteful child is sharpened dramatically. Towards the end of the epic; however, Achilles begins to exhibit qualities that are considered heroic even in today’s society....   [tags: Iliad Essays]

Good Essays
1172 words (3.3 pages)

Free College Essays - The Character of Achilles in Homer's Iliad

- The Character of Achilles in Homer's Iliad The story of Homer's Iliad actually centers around the "rage of Achilles, contrary to popular belief. At first thought or reading the epic poem seems like its main theme is utlimately the totality and gruesomness of war. In reality it is an ancient "Saving Private Ryan" in that it tells us of the raw details of war without any lack of description and information. However this ultimate devistation and emotion of the actual fighting and Trojan War is not the main focal point of this heroic tale....   [tags: Iliad essays]

Free Essays
441 words (1.3 pages)

Essay about Achilles' Influence and Morality in "The Iliad"

- From the first few lines of the Iliad, Achilles’ influence is evident; the poet describes “…Achilles’ rage, / Black and murderous, that cost the Greeks / Incalculable pain, pitched countless souls / Of heroes into Hades’ dark, / And left their bodies to rot as feats” (1.1-5). The extremity of the chaos described is suggestive of the level of power only a god would have, which immediately distinguishes Achilles from ordinary mortals. In the first book alone, Achilles is visited by Hera, Athena, and Thetis, and through Thetis is able to bring a message to Zeus himself, who respects his honor and grants his prayer....   [tags: Ancient Greece, Character Analysis]

Good Essays
1230 words (3.5 pages)

Essay about The Iliad, by Homer

- The Iliad written by Homer in the days of Ancient Greece has become one of the most epic poems of all time. It is a poem that has been debated for centuries. Within the tale of Achilles and the wrath of war lies a magnificent object that is shortly mentioned in Book 18. The brief section in Book XVIII, lines 505-660, described the shield that Achilles would carry into battle. However, it also tells us something about the nature of Achilles and his heroic image full of rage and anger. In order to understand the significance of the Shield of Achilles, one must closely look within the different layers of the shield itself....   [tags: Shield of Achilles]

Good Essays
966 words (2.8 pages)

Achilles' Hero Behavior Cycle in the Iliad Essay

- The Ancient Greeks admired their heroes and tried to learn from both their achievements and their mistakes. They believed that most great leaders and warriors followed a predictable behavior cycle, which often ended tragically. In Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad, Achilles is a great warrior who traces the stages of the behavior cycle twice, from arete to hubris to ate and then to nemesis. Achilles is a highly skilled warrior and a great leader who becomes a narcissist and an arrogant person, which leads to selfish and childish behavior resulting in the death of his best friend....   [tags: Ancient Greeks, iliad, heroes,]

Good Essays
1038 words (3 pages)

Achilles: The Tragic Hero Essay

- The Iliad, the Greek epic documented by Homer that describes the battles and events of the ten year siege on Troy by the Greek army. Both Trojans and Greeks had their fair share of heroes and warriors, but none could match the skill and strength of the swift runner, Achilles. Achilles had the attributes of a perfect warrior with his god-like speed and combat abilities. However, even though he was Greek’s greatest warrior, he still possessed several flaws that made him fit the role of the Tragic Hero impeccably....   [tags: The Iliad Essays]

Good Essays
936 words (2.7 pages)

The Shield of Achilles in Homer's Iliad Essay

- 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....   [tags: Iliad Essays]

Good Essays
1091 words (3.1 pages)

The Epic Education of Achilles in Homer's The Iliad Essay

- The Epic Education of Achilles in Homer's The Iliad Dr. Fly’s comments: This paper was well-organized and developed; the thesis was argued in a logical fashion; material from primary and secondary sources was well-documented and integrated smoothly into the text; the author’s style was clear, with varied and sophisticated sentence structures and concrete vocabulary; and the paper demonstrated excellent command of grammar and mechanics.   Within the annals of epic literature, the celebrated role of "epic hero" has always been present, heralding the poem's themes through the actions of a single, extraordinary protagonist....   [tags: Iliad Essays]

Good Essays
2275 words (6.5 pages)