The Role Of Achilles In The Il

1986 words - 8 pages

In the epic poem, The Iliad, Homer describes a social occasion in which character's values, the values of that character's culture and the themes those values develop can be derived. The funeral games, held by Achilles in honor of his late friend Patroclus, is a perfect example of such an occasion. Achilles is the model for the Achaeans throughout the funeral games, and throughout the text. The way Achilles acts has an effect on the Trojan War and the survival of the Greek Culture. Achilles' goal in holding the games was not only to honor his friend, but also to bring his army together so they could fight together and win. Thus, the Greek Culture that is determined by Achilles will live on. This displays that Achilles withholds the value of teamwork at first, then grants it to his benefit knowing that teamwork is necessary to win the war. Since Achilles knows he will die, his mother told him his fate, he is creating a way he can live on through the remembrance of others and achieve immortality by the survival of the Greek culture. Also, Achilles is holding the funeral games so that when he dies a glorious death, the Achaeans will remember him better by having funeral games in honor of him. The values and themes the reader can see from Achilles are the constant battle for glory and immortality. The chariot race, one of the many events during the funeral games, forces the reader to identify and apply these themes and ideas to the rest of the text. The reader has to realize that every time Achilles is taking control, praying to Zeus, fighting in the war, and bringing his troops together he is doing it for the benefit of himself. Because it is human nature to see everything in a lighter sense then is present, the reader may only think Achilles is stubborn. The reader sees a conspicuous change in the personalities of Achilles from the beginning of the poem and the funeral games. When the reader realizes this, he is forced to find out why, uncovering Achilles amoral plan to achieve immortality. Achilles is displaying the common human urge to establish his power and gain glory in everything that he does.Achilles, being the model for Achaean culture, calls all of the Greek men together after the death of Patroclus and Hector to participate in funeral games. One of Achilles' incentives was to honor his friend, Patroclus, but Achilles also wanted to bring the Greek army closer together. The reader can see Achilles' plan of using the funeral games as a team building workshop activated during the chariot race. Antilochus cuts off Menelaus in a dangerous part of the race and Menelaus gets very upset(572). Antilochus ended up beating Menelaus by a short distance. Menelaus says to Antilochus, "Now see what you have done! Disgraced my horsemanship-you've fouled my horses, cutting before me, you with your far slower team." This shows that not just Achilles demonstrates the constant urge to establish power and authority, Menelaus does too. Then, they both make up...

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