Deeds More Important Than Words, Iliad

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Deeds are a lot more important than words. The little saying ‘easier said than done’ proves that point. A lot of the characters in The Iliad say a lot of things, just to say them. Only a few actually go about their words. They usually are bluffing throughout their speeches that they give or conversations they have with other humans or gods.

Achilles bluffed through a lot of his words. In Book 1, he tried playing it cool by helping Chryses get his daughter back from Agamemnon. “Just how, Agamemnon, great field marshal…most grasping man alive, how can the generous Argives give you prizes now? – So return the girl to the god, at least for now. We Achaeans will pay you back, three, four times over, if Zeus will grant us the gift, somehow, someday, to raze Troy’s massive ramparts to the ground” (81). He tried to sound powerful and heroic, so Agamemnon would easily return the girl without wanting more from him. Agamemnon knew better and put Achilles in his spot. “Not so quickly, brave as you are, godlike Achilles—trying to cheat me. Oh no, you won’t get past me, take me in that way! What do you want? To cling to your own prize while I sit calmly by—empty-handed here?—No—if our generous Argives will give me a prize, a match for my desires, equal to what I’ve lost, well and good” (82). Achilles was still standing his ground so he wouldn’t look weak for Agamemnon. Even though Achilles tried so hard to keep his words and actions strong, Agamemnon easily broke him by telling him to give up Briseis. “But I, I will be there in person at your tents to take Briseis in all her beauty, your own prize” (83). Hearing this, Achilles gave up on sounding heroic and tried to kill Agamemnon. He was so angry that he didn’t even keep his word on helping people out. He did go through with it, but he hated himself for it. He left and cried to himself. So Achilles bluffed his strength through his words.

Another character who changed his reputation through actions and words was Hector....
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