The Fate Of Achilles In Homer's The Iliad

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Homer’s “The Iliad” uses Achilles, our epic hero, as a demonstration of the power rage has over men, and how that in turn affects fate. Achilles, though sometimes considered godlike in his sheer power, often succumbs to his overwhelming rage--eventually at the expense of his best friend’s life, and nearly his own honor. Although Achilles ultimately chooses to avenge Patroclus’ death and achieve his own kleos, his initial rage-fueled decision to withdraw his participation in the war leads to the death of many Achaean soldiers at the hands of the Trojan forces, thus demonstrating the power prideful rage has in determining fate. Achilles’ initial refusal to battle alongside Agammemnon, motivated by his fury at being publicly shamed, leads to…show more content…
Patroclus’ aristeia is cut short when he is brutally murdered by Hector, after Apollo’s intervention in the battle. When the news of Patroclus’ slaughter reaches Achilles, he finds himself suddenly responsible for much of the bloodshed--and the death of his best friend. He can no longer ignore the consequences of his fury, and mourns Patroclus, “the man [he] loved beyond all other comrades,” before armoring himself and preparing to reenter the battle (18.95). Although Achilles’ superhuman skill in battle proves a major asset to the Achaean forces, he cannot reverse his actions, and cannot bring Patroclus back to life. Achilles now has nothing to do but choose his own fate, and fight brutally until he either leaves the battle and achieves nostos, or kills Hector and achieves kleos, while also sealing his own fate to die in the war. However, the ominous threat of his own death does not prevent Achilles from fighting valiantly. He slaughters rapidly and brutally, carving a clear path through the Trojans to Troy and to his own kleos. His incredible aristeia is fueled by a total, overwhelming desire to “meet...that Hector who destroyed the dearest life [he knew]” and kill him in battle (18.135-136). Despite his full awareness that killing Hector will destroy any
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