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Achilles’ Courage In The Iliad Essay

1010 words - 5 pages

In Homer’s The Iliad, Achilles is often referred to as a very courageous Greek hero but a further look into the epic will reveal a man that is more arrogant than courageous. It was truly his arrogance that made his name famous and not his courage. Achilles was a narcissistic, self-serving man who was not concerned with his fellow country man. His actions of courage can easily be revealed as selfishness instead of what most people believe.
In the beginning of Achilles’ life, the Greek goddess, Themis, prophesized that he would either die young and famous in battle or live a long nonexistent life without battle. His mother, Thetis, took this as a death omen and placed Achilles in the ...view middle of the document...

Patroclus, Achilles’ friend, even begged with him to come back to the fight, to help end the heartache of the Greeks to no avail and Odysseus told Achilles “Think of yourself, of the regret you will feel For harm that will prove irreparable. This is the last chance to save your countrymen.” This simple statement was telling Achilles that he should realize what was going on other than his pride or he would live to regret it. It is during this time that Patroclus gets permission to fight in Achilles’ place and was lent the armor of Achilles. It was the selfishness and arrogance of Achilles that leads to the death of Patroclus. Achilles could have simply headed the words of Odysseus and perhaps Patroclus would not have perished in the battle. Patroclus knew that he was not anywhere near the warrior that Achilles had become but still put his self-worth after that of the Greeks. With the permission that he gave, Achilles sent his friend off to a battle that could not be won by someone who did not have the protection of the Styx River.
Achilles truly mourned the death of his friend and grieved for him as a parent would grieve for a child. He took his time grieving for his friend and was not concerned in the least for the war that was going on around him. When Achilles finally decided that he would return to the war against the Trojans, he used the death of Patroclus to show that he was not weak and would do whatever it takes to avenge his friend’s death. Even though the Greeks were doing alright in the war by pushing the Trojans to offer special prayers and sacrifices to the gods, Achilles knew that his return would do more for the Greeks than they could do for themselves (Puchner., and et al 245). This sent Achilles into a rage filled battle where he was not concerned with the rules...

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