A Characterization Of Achilles Essay Research Paper

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A Characterization Of Achilles Essay, Research Paper Anger is a brief lunacy. -Horace The Iliad, an epic poem written by Homer, portrays rage and vengeful humanbehavior. In his work, Homer introduces Achilles, an invincible and stubborn warrior. Hehas no match on the battlefield and is considered one of the greatest Greek fighters in theTrojan War (Sparknotes). Quick to offend, he is enraged when the King of Mycenae andleader of the Greek army, Agamemnon, speaks ill of him in front of the Achaen troopsand demands Achilles prize, Briseis, in exchange for his own, Chryses. Incensed at thepresumptuousness and selfishness of Agamemnon, he withdraws from the Greek camp andthe battle, refusing to fight further . Feeling betrayed, his honor compromised and hischaracter disrespected,

Achilles the larger-than-life hero seeks the advice of his mother,the sea goddess Thetis. During their meeting, Achilles sulks and broods over his losses,proving after all that godlike warriors are only men prone to their own human adversities. Emphasizing this theme of rage, the poem opens, Rage, Goddess, sing the rage ofPeleus son Achilles… From the events to follow in the Iliad we are able to concludethat all men are subject to rage when their honor, loyalty and earned status are imperiled. Rage, with a furious intensity, clouds over Achilles like a storm. Despite his comrades inarms, Achilles, acting in vengeance, refuses to battle, and it is rage that makes it so thatAchilles would rather see friends wounded than be slighted by Agamemnon (Bookrags). Achilles relies on

Thetis many times for advice and divine assistance. Acting helpless, hesuccumbs to his human afflictions and lets her work out his problem for him , he weepsand implores his noble mother But you, mother, if you have any power at all, protectyour son! (Iliad, I, 467-468). Achilles, his only vulnerable spot in his heel, is reduced tomoping to his mother and begs her to plead with Zeus for his own pitied sake. Even afterthe Greeks send an entourage to Achilles requesting his return to battle in exchange fortreasure and an unharmed Briseis, Achilles refuses because his pride and honor have beentarnished. Godlike Achilles despite his great stature is reduced to the distresses of humanemotions. Achilles tendency to immaturity progresses to a variety of inappropriate andpotentially

dangerous and destructive behaviors. His reliance on his mother, inability toexert self-control, and his resort to violence are an easy solution to any perceivedproblems. Throughout the Iliad Achilles behaves in a spiteful manner. He is stubborn andunreasonable, sullen and resentful when he cannot have his way and takes advantage of hisstrength when challenged. Achilles, in book one, loses a battle with Agamemnon andcannot retaliate. Instead he retreats in frustration and self-pity and cries Mother, yougave me life…so at least Olympian Zeus, thundering up on high, should give me honor, butnow he gives me nothing…Agamemnon…seizes and keeps my prize (Iliad, I, 416-419). He again seeks his mother divine intervention when his armor is lost to Hector, How canI go to war? The

Trojans have my gear. And my dear mother told me I must not arm forbattle, not till I see her coming back with my own eyes… (Iliad, XVII, 218-220). Thetisenlists Hephaestus, the gods metal-smith, to forge for Achilles a new armor. His inability to exert self-control is another unattractive trait portrayed by Achilles. Determined to avenge the death of Patroclus, his close friend and companion, he ignoreshis mother s sound advice. But now, for the moment, let me seize great glory! hedemands (Iliad, XVIII, 144). Warning Thetis, Don t try to hold me back from thefighting, mother, love me as you do. You can t persuade me now (Iliad, 149-150). Laterwhen he attempts to force the Achaen army to attack the Trojans immediately, he insists I, by god, I d drive our Argives into battle