Essay Sample on The Wrath of Achilles and its Role in the Iliad

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  614 Words
Date:  2022-12-05


Besides the wrath of Achilles, the Iliad has numerous other stories focusing on individual Greek warriors like Agamemnon, Odysseus, Menelaus and the Trojan warriors among others. The Iliad opens up during the tenth year of the Trojan War. The Trojan War involved Achaians soldiers crossing the sea to cordon Troy, in Turkey (Homer and Rodney 25). Achilles is the primary character whereby his actions are followed from the start of the work, when he left the war after his pride was wounded by Agamemnon, to the middle of the work when his close friend is killed, and he returned to avenge his death (Homer and Rodney 46). There is also the incident when Achilles killed the head of the Trojan army and returned the body to his family. Nevertheless, the poem focused on Achilles decision to pull out of the war and the aftermath of the decision.

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The Trojan War took a period of nine years, happening back and forth. The Trojans who were led by Hector gained an advantage over the Greek when king Agamemnon kidnapped the daughter of Trojan priest of Apollo. Achilles was against this, and his decision was justified when Apollo's arrow almost finished the entire Greek army. The Greek prophets' advice King Agamemnon to release the girl but he demands a replacement with Achilles' war prize, another woman called Briseis (Homer and Rodney 37). This made Achilles very furious to the point of withdrawing from the battle. With the withdrawal of Achilles from the war together with his troop, the Greek remained vulnerable. For that reason, the gods were split: Aphrodite, Ares, Apollo, and Artemis sided with the Trojans while the Hera, Poseidon, and Athena sided with the Greeks.

The actions of the hero were the focal point in the Iliad. Basing on the importance of the hero to the Greek community, it can be interpreted that the hero's actions contributed towards the Greek civilization (Nagy 128). This can be illustrated beyond Homeric's poem, linking to the famous Olympic games held after every four years. The traditional ceremony launching this event links to Achilles: on the day when the games begin, women of Elis stares at the sun as it sets followed by rituals done to the hero. The hero represents to top class since it is mandated to defend the social and religious rights of the community life. Being a hero came with social responsibilities. This was defined in the battlefield. Achilles was associated with a heroic social class which meant that his absence in the battlefield affected the performance of the entire community in a war. The ideology represented was that a hero had two distinct choices; either to surrender to an external force or make personal decisions (Nagy 94). This links to the fact that man becomes heroic based on specific qualities.

Heroes fear for shame or defeat affects their response to different social scenarios. There are different instances that if Achilles would have acted differently, his society would have disrespected him. However, despite the fear of judgment, everybody is at fault. The bond of heroism was broken when Agamemnon failed to release the girl and instead claimed Briseis in lieu of the girl. The insult he spews to Achilles also affected the bond of heroism. On the other hand, Achilles intimidation to Agamemnon and the threat to kill him was a social act that if done could affect his reputation and show disrespect to his elders.

Works Cited

Homer, and Rodney Merrill. The Iliad. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007. Print.

Nagy, Gregory. The Best of the Achaeans: Concepts of the Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999. Print.

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