Achilles Irrational Behavior In The Iliad

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Homer is an ingenious poet, who's literature is open to many interpretations. In The Iliad, Achilles is portrayed as an irrational human being who’s characteristics make him the most powerful of the Achaean soldiers. After the death of Achilles comrade Patroclus , Achilles characteristics such as egotism becomes more apparent when fighting a river, dishonoring the heroic code, and fulfilling the prophecy by killing Hector. Achilles irrational behavior/rage after Patroclus’s death, is key to understanding Achilles characteristics. Achilles irrational behavior is flourished, once he comes in contact with a mystical river. Achilles has no respect for any type of authority or power superior to his. "So be it, Scamander sprung of Zeus—as you …show more content…

Priam on the other hand, who holds a deep respect for gods or mystical rivers alike is respectful and acknowledges their great power and influence by gifts. ” unlock the doors of the goddess’s sacred chambers— and take a robe, the largest, loveliest robe that she can find throughout the royal halls, a gift that far and away she prizes most herself…”( Book 6, 107) Comparing both Priam and Achilles there is an obvious difference that suggest that Achilles is powered by his rage to overpower all obstacles in his way, which violates social norms. This fierce behavior Achilles has towards the river is futile, since the river was deemed an immortal god. Achilles constant persistence and willingness to fight the river is only proof of his egotism and senseless …show more content…

Comparing these actions of Diomedes with Achilles fate (Killing Hector and dying dishonorably) , proves that Achilles has great care for Patroclus. This great compassion and care for Patroclus, is what drives Achilles into battle. In conclusion, the death of Patroclus sparked Achilles to truly unveil his characteristics through the actions that he took. Achilles revealed his true egotism, by fighting the godlike river. This fight was egotistic in the sense that Achilles challenged the godlike river, confident in his abilities. In fighting the river it proved that Achilles was senseless because the river is immortal and any act of violence towards the river, would only make it angrier. Another characteristic shown of Achilles is his lack of care for any heroic code, or rule that limits him from acting violent. Achilles is also persistent in the sense that he overcomes all obstacles in his way, from killing Hector. Achilles can also be thought of as easy to manipulate, because Zeus was the one that sort of led him to kill Hector. Achilles behavior all stems from the death of Patroclus, and Achilles avenging him.

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