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Forgive And Forget Essay

1202 words - 5 pages

The rage that first overtook Achilles in the Iliad eventually subsides to compromise with his king, reconciliation with his enemies, and complete acceptance of his fate. The quarrel that incites Achilles anger is never resolved but is instead put into the past by a compromise with Agamemnon. Achilles' anger over the death of Patrokolus rages until the death and disgrace of Hector. Only through avenging his fallen comrade can Achilles accept his fate and quell his fury. After the disgrace of Hector and the ransoming of his body, a complete and meaningful reconciliation between Priam and Achilles resolves the epic. All the rage, death, and destruction of the Iliad are ended in a quiet and meaningful reconciliation between Priam and Achilles.

Words in the Iliad cut deeper than any spear point or bronze blade. Achilles wrath and the events that follow are the result of Agamemnon's harsh words. Achilles, in the best interest of the Achaeans, suggests that Agamemnon follow the advice of the prophet Kalchas and return the daughter of Chryses, in turn ending Apollo's plague. Enraged at the prophet and Achilles' support for him, Agamemnon turns on Achilles, threatening to "Take the fair-cheeked Briseis,/ your prize, I myself going to your shelter, that you may learn well/ how much greater I am than you" (Iliad,1.184-186). Achilles' anger at Agamemnon is obvious in his response. "Now I am returning to Phthia, since it is much better/ to go home again with my curved ships, and I am minded no longer/ to stay here dishonored and pile up your wealth and your luxury." (I,l.169-171). Achilles, so upset with the dishonor Agamemnon placed on him, withdraws from fighting.

Now, both Achilles and Agamemnon have suffered great losses. Agamemnon, in shame, is considering leaving Troy, giving up the war, and sailing home. Achilles has lost what is most dear to him, his friend and lover Patrokolus. Lying in the arms of his fallen comrade, Achilles is visited by his mother, who brings replacement armor from the god Hephaestus and words of advice. "Go then and summon into assembly the fighting Achaeans,/ and unsay your anger against Agamemnon" (I,19.34-35) . Achilles, realizing his quarrel has indirectly led to the death of Patrokolus, is willing to make amends now in order to avenge his friend: "Son of Atreus... Now I am making an end of my anger. It does not become me unrelentingly to rage on" (I.19,56-68). Agamemnon, too proud to make true reconciliation, compromises, blaming his hateful words on the gods. "The Achaeans have spoken often against me/ and found fault with me in it, yet I am not responsible/ but Zeus is, and Destiny, and Erinys the mist-walking/ who in assembly caught my ear in the savage delusion/ on that day I myself stripped from him the prize of Achilles" (I.19,85-89). Reconciliation between the king and Achilles is more of a compromise than true reconciliation....

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