Destiny In The Iliad

1544 Words7 Pages
“My divine mother, silver-footed Thetis, says that destiny has left two courses open to me on my journey to the grave. If I stay here and fight it out round Ilium, there is no home-coming for me, but there will be eternal glory instead. If I go back to the land of my fathers, my heroic glory will be forfeit, but my life will be long and I shall be spared an early death.” (Achilles to Odysseus, Homer, 2003a, p. 154) In Homer’s Iliad, Achilles is the only major character who well foreknows of his early death. Achilles’s destiny of his short life is rarely narrated by the narrator Homer, but directly mentioned in the speech of many characters; both major characters, such as, Achilles himself, the sea goddess Thetis, the ghost of Patroclus, and…show more content…
It can be implied that Achilles wants to tell the horse Xanthus that it is his own decision; he chooses to risk his life fighting again as a hero in the battle and dying with his glory – not because of the destiny itself that forces him to stay at Troy and die in the war. In book 21, there are two important scenes which are vital examples to be discussed. The first example is the scene that Achilles speaks to the Trojan prince Lycaon on the battlefield as he rejects Lycaon’s plea of life. For this moment, Achilles seems to be aware of the death, since he replies to the Trojan prince: “Yes, my friend, you die too. Why make such a song about it? Even Patroclus died, who was a better man than you by far. And look at me. Don’t you see how big and handsome I am? I am the son of a great man. A goddess was my mother. Yet death and inexorable destiny are waiting for me as well. A morning is coming, or maybe an evening or noon, when someone is going to kill me in the battle, with a throw of his spear or an arrow from his bow.” (Achilles to Lycaon, Homer, 2003a, p.

More about Destiny In The Iliad

Open Document