Achilles Before Troy Essay

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Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff retells Homer’s tale, the Iliad, in a palatable fashion without editing too much of a character’s personality. In Sutcliff’s version, Achilles was not the hero that he is so often portrayed as; Achilles was a narcissist with power, pride, and strength. Friends as well as foes died, paying the price for Achilles’s obstinate behavior. Despite his great skill in physical combat, Achilles did not display the character traits that define a hero; Achilles showed the flaws that made him human. Briseis and all of the Greek army could attest to that. Two beautiful maidens, considered war prizes, went to Agamemnon and Achilles. The most handsome, Chryseis, served Agamemnon, while the other maiden, Briseis,…show more content…
Patroclus, Achilles’s friend and servant, came to him and begged him to fight and, if he would not, he asked if he could wear Achilles’s armor into battle. Patroclus hoped that by wearing the armor, he could fool both the Greeks and the Trojans into believing that Achilles had returned to the battle-mass, turning the tide of the war. Achilles agreed on one condition: Patroclus must come back as soon as he successfully forced the Trojans away from the black ships. Patroclus didn’t listen, so he died at the hand of Hector. When Achilles heard this, he cast away the chains of honor and pride that he had constantly blamed for his inaction and armed himself with wrath. And when he joined the battle-mass, he was not a lion, but a demon. When he slew Hector, he cut Hector’s ankles and dragged him behind his chariot, dishonoring both himself and the corpse of Troy’s greatest general. Achilles was never a hero. He had moments of love, but it was always selfish love. It is fitting that Paris is the one who killed the mighty Achilles, for Paris is Achilles’s equal. In love and hate and honor, Achilles failed to impress. He only proved that reputation is a rumor that may or may not be
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