Achilles Essay Research Paper Alex HastieThe House

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Achilles Essay, Research Paper Alex Hastie The House That Homer Built 12/13/99 Have You Met-A-Physical Journey? Throughout life, we are all faced with some kind of journey that must challenge us to make us grow up. There are two kinds of journeys; the physical and the spiritual. The physical journey entails overcoming a tangible barrier (e.g. a test of strength or a rite of passage). A spiritual journey causes one to reach a higher level of human consciousness and to find meaning in their journey (e.g. a pilgrimage or meditation). All heroes undergo some sort of physical confrontation, whether it be war or a clash with a supernatural being. However, only great heroes endure both journeys. It is this metaphysical journey, a supernatural journey of the mind and body, of the

hero that draws the readers attention. The journeys of Achilles, Odysseus, and Inman portray man’s search for meaning of life. In The Iliad, Achilles was the greatest fighter among all the Achaeans during the Trojan War. The mere presence of his mighty form caused all opponents to fear for their lives. But suddenly, he stopped fighting. Achilles’ fragile ego had been crushed by the Achaean commander Agamemnon. Agamemnon stole Achilles’ geras and severely damaged Achilles’ time and kleos (all of which crucial to the Iliadic society). Achilles retired from the ranks of war and sulked in his tent while his comrades fell. However, over the course of the epic and his absence from war, Achilles underwent a great change. In Book One, Achilles was the great warrior, but after

being embarrassed by his leader, left the battlefield and returned to the ships. All he could do was pray for his revenge and his chance to redeem his kleos. However, in Book Nine, Achilles no longer cares about the prizes stolen from him. Achilles learned that the possessions he gained from war could only last him so long. He had accepted his fate (whether to live short and be remembered forever or live long and be forgotten). Achilles outgrew his Iliadic wants. Achilles, known for his prowess in battle, in Book Nine now showed excellence in council. The new Achilles outwits the crafty Odysseus. He did not succumb to the guilt of Phoenix. Also, he shrugged off the feeble attempt by Ajax. It would take something more important than Agamemnon’s gifts and well-placed words to

make Achilles return to battle. Finally, it happened. Patroclus, Achilles’ dearest friend, was sent out into the battle under the guise of Achilles’, wearing his immortal armor, but was slain by the Trojan warrior Hector. Since hearing the news, the Achilles of Book One and Book Nine was no more. Achilles the man died and Achilles the animal was born. For the next five books, Achilles raged onto the battlefield, killing everyone in his path. Mercy was no longer a concept to Achilles. Achilles waged on for no country, Achilles killed in the name of anger and revenge. No geras, no dream of time or kleos mattered at all to the animal Achilles. At last, when Achilles had defeated his enemy Hector, he further rejected societal values and defiled the dead body by dragging it three

times around the mighty walls of Troy, forbidding the Trojans to give Hector a proper burial. Not until his confrontation with King Priam in Book Twenty-Four was Achilles brought back to his human self. Priam had lost his greatest son, Hector, and Achilles had lost his greatest friend, Patroclus. For a moment the two were equals. The new Achilles of Book Twenty-Four showed compassion, generosity, and mercy to the once great king. Now back to normal, Achilles waited for his life to end and his fate to be completed. The Odyssey portrayed the story of the great Odysseus on his journey home after the Trojan War. Overcoming countless trials and obstacles, Odysseus learned lessons about himself and about the world. Upon the end of the war the Iliadic Odysseus was not ready to return