Achilles Essay Research Paper Before it was

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Achilles Essay, Research Paper Before it was written, The Iliad was a poem told orally by the Greeks. The Iliad presents modern day readers with information about the Greek society many years ago in the B.C. time period. This poem portrays the important values of the Greek society during a heroic age. This heroic age is conveyed by one main character, Achilles. Achilles represents the tragic Greek hero in The Iliad, tragic because he chose his own death. Achilles knew (because of his mother Thetis), that he could either lead a long and insignificant life, or die young but glorious. Achilles chose the latter. Throughout The Iliad, Achilles went through some significant changes that affected himself, as well as the Achaeans and Trojans. He began a hero and ended a tragic hero.

The Trojan War is vital to Greek mythology and provides a backdrop for discussion. Before the war even started, however, it was known by all Trojans and Achaeans that Achilles was the best fighter. He was the hero of all fighters. In a way this was bad, and in a way this was good. Achilles was overflowing with pride, which built up his confidence. Consequently, it was his confidence that brought on his early death. It all began when Agamemnon stole away Briseis, Achilles woman. To ease the anger Achilles had for Agamemnon, Thetis asked Zeus to provide honor for her son, Achilles. Zeus granted her request by promising that the Achaeans would suffer enough losses to force Agamemnon to come begging for Achilles help. The first major change in Achilles was caused by his rage toward

Agamemnon. Achilles, the great warrior, allowed his wrath to infest his desire to help his own comrades in the battle against the Trojans. It was his determination to maintain his pride that led way to his unwavering stubbornness. Because Achilles withheld himself from battle, the Achaeans and Trojans suffered many losses. Of the Achaeans, many of the best men were injured or killed. Odysseus, Diomedes, and Agamemnon were all three vital fighters for the Achaeans that nearly lost their lives in battle. They were not able to participate in battle for a number of days. The Trojans experienced similar casualties. Even though Achilles behavior was not centered around concern for his comrades, the Achaeans never lost respect for him. They continued to honor him, knowing that he was

far stronger than any other Achaean and that they needed his help A main message portrayed during the continuous battle that took place during Achilles absence, was that some people are favored and some are not. Regardless of a Greek or Trojan s reputation, the stronger fighter was always determined by the gods. For example, when the Trojans reached the Argive gates, Zeus gave Hector the power to lift a huge boulder. With this boulder, Hector was able to break open and gain entrance. He then had access to the Argive ships. The intervention of the gods showed many parallels to human life during the time Achilles was out of battle, this being one of them. The intervention of the gods affected everyone, whether they were mortal or immortal, Trojan or Achaean. Other parallels

included jealousy, pride, and anger. All of these human traits that the gods reflected, were precisely why Achilles had withdrawn from battle. Jealousy, pride, and anger were all feelings Achilles possessed as a result of Agamemnon stealing Briseis. The second major change in Achilles took place when his friend Patroclus was killed by Hector. When Agamemnon sent his men with ransom to call Achilles back to battle, Achilles did not accept. The mere request by Agamemnon s messengers was not enough to lure him back. Achilles should have accepted Agamemnon s ransom and returned to fight. Instead, he continued to wallow in his own pride and anger. This continued rage killed his best friend Patroclus because Achilles was not there to protect him. The personal affect that Patroclus