Achilles is an example of losing and gaining back arete. In book one, Agamemnon is forced to give Chrysies back only if Achilles gives up his prize, Briseis, to him (1.220). This infuriated Achilles and humiliated him. At the end of their quarrel, Achilles decided he would not fight for Briseis and he would simply withdraw from the battle and he would not fight. This was Achilles’s way of revenge for Agamemnon because he too away the one thing that gave him honor and respect. Agamemnon violated his honor and Achilles would not let him have his way. Instead of fighting and trying to get back his prize, he did what he thought would dishonor Agamemnon which was to withdraw from the battle. Later in the Iliad in book 18, Achilles learns that his
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Achilles and Agamemnon clashed over war prizes which created a deep antipathy within Achilles towards his leader. When asked by Agamemnon to fight in the battle between the Greeks and The Trojans, he refuses to fight even though they would suffer immensely without him. Achilles wanted to keep his pride and dignity since he felt that Agamemnon was not giving him the respect and acclaim that he deserved. He decided to sacrifice his glory of being one of the greatest gods to ever go into battle to go back to his “fatherland of Pythia'' (Il.9.265). He knows what it would cost him his title and that if he chooses not to fight then he might not get the opportunity to have all the glory again.
Although the word “hero” has transcended time, the definition has not. When modern-day humans go into reading about Greek heroes, expecting them to resemble our current ones, they are unpleasantly surprised to find selfish people who sometimes indiscriminately murder in the name of honor. In comparison, we value the firefighter that puts their life on the line to save others, the person standing up to the bully with pacifism rather than fists, and those that learn to forgive and forget instead of spending their entire lives seeking revenge on those that have wronged them. Thus, Achilles would not be considered a modern-day hero like he was in ancient Greece, because whilst they valued glory, brutal strength, and revenge, today we value selflessness,
Misopeliades tell the men that he thinks it’s a bad idea for Achilles to go and fight in war because he never does anything right. Misopeliades feels Achilles will only make things worse than what they are already. Misopeliades thinks he is only thinking of going to the war because he wants to be seen as respected by his people. The whole war wouldn’t be as bad if Achilles didn’t become so enraged over such a little situation.
Other characters in The Illiad do the same. Agamemnon and Achilles capture the daughter of Apollo’s priest and another young girl from Troy after ransacking the city. These two women cause division between the man and his warrior. Because of the men’s stubbornness to forgive each other and do what’s right, they end up sacrificing victories and live of soldiers over a pointless quarrel. Their “beautiful prizes” meant more to them than the cause they were fighting for.
Achilles is seen to be full of wrath in the beginning of the book. This wrath is not caused only because Agamemnon takes his prize of war. He is angry at the system which allows Agamemnon to play around with other people’s honors and the system which allows him to decide who gets how much honor. In other words, Achilles does not like the idea that someone else can decide what happens to his honor, despite him deserving most of the honor in relation to how much he contributes in war. As the story proceeds, Achilles seems to contradict himself a lot, and the concept of honor helps us understand this better.
Achilles’ anger has lead to him committing cruel behavior; a large majority of the horrific violence within Homer’s story, comes from Achilles’ relentless rage. But is his rage truly without proper cause and justification? King Agamemnon forced Achilles’ to hand over his beloved Briseis to him, which caused Achilles to withdraw his men from the Achaean army. Achilles’ closest
“Wolves and lambs don’t share a common heart—they always sense a mutual hatred for each other” (Homer, Iliad 22. 327-329), this epic simile shows, Achilles’ actions brought on by justice for Patroclus’ death scream for blood. Achilles’ actions after killing Hector hurt Priam and his family, leaving them emotionally distraught and furious furthering the raging battle into Troy for fair Helen. Mortals have been shown to fight a war of vengeance and justice but the Gods also had a part in this
Achilles is maddened and appeals to his goddess mother saying, “If I am to die soon, shouldn’t I have what I want?” Feeling only sorrow for her son, Thetis requests Zeus to cause to Greeks to lose until Achilles fights again. Slowly the Greeks are pushed back farther and Agamemnon pleads with Achilles, offering Briseis back. Achilles declines due to his pride and the Trojans come close to burn the Greek ships. Even when a ship was burning, Achilles refused to fight and instead sends out Patroclus.
The Iliad is primarily about how the war is affected because of Achilles anger. Achilles character does not precisely change but grows from what it was at the beginning of the fifty-one days. A characteristic that stays constant throughout the fifty-one days is, Achilles lets his emotion drive him into making blind a reckless decisions. A characteristic that develops throughout the book is Achilles sense of consequence(book 15-390 18).
One of the major consequences of war is the horrific tragedies that occur. In the Iliad, in book eighteen, when Achilles hears that Hector killed Patroclus he is filled with rage and enters the war seeking vengeance. His rage causes him to kill hundreds of trojans and seek
Agamemnon’s taking of Briseis enrages Achilles and spurs him to remove himself from the war, leading to a massive death toll in the Achaean forces. In stealing Briseis from Achilles, he is not only robbing of him of a material prize, but also a symbol of honor, his geras, in Greek culture. In retaliation, Achilles removes himself from the war and prays to his mother, Thetis, that she will ask Zeus to damage the Achaean forces. Achilles’ only goal is that “even mighty Atrides can see how mad he was to disgrace Achilles” (1.488-490). Despite having no true grievance against the Achaean army as a whole, Achilles’ rage blinds him from the potential harm that may befall his troops.
Achilles and Hector in The Iliad and Medea and Jason Medea all have characteristics that eventually led to their downfall. Achilles is a furious man, and it leads him to do unspeakable things. Hector is very prideful, and it clouds his judgement. In Medea, Medea is revengeful, and all she thinks about his getting revenge. Jason is insensitive, and it cost him his family.
If I stay here and fight before the city of Troy, there will be no home- coming for me but my fame shall never die; if I go home to my native land, there will be no great fame for me, but I shall live long and not die an early death.” (Homer 110) This shows that he is selfishness and fearful at the same time of losing and dying in the war. In the very beginning of the Iliad, King Agamemnon and Achilles have an argument for a couple of different reasons. After, the Achians won a battle against a city that was allied with the Trojans each of them received a prize consisted of a young woman from the war.