The Swift Runner-Achilles

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The Secrets of the Swift Runner

Achilles is classic literatures' greatest characters ever engraved on paper. Achilles, son of Peleus, King of Myrmidons, and Thetis, sea nymph, comes to Troy as part of a Greek force led by King Agamemnon. Unlike most protagonists, Achilles does not develop significantly over the course of the epic. As the story unravels Achilles wrath for Agamemnon intensifies, but only after the death of Patroclus does he redirect his rage towards Hector. Achilles' bloodlust, wrath, and pride continue to consume him. As a result he mercilessly mauls his opponents and does not relent in this brutality until the last book when King Priam begs for the return of his son's desecrated corpse. Achilles embodies the characteristics of the epic hero particularly in his apparent lack of character and control and lust for fame.

Proud and headstrong, Achilles takes offense easily and reacts with blistering indignation when perceived that his honor has been insulted. In the beginning of Book One, after Agamemnon erroneously accuses Achilles of cheating him of his prize, Chryseis, Achilles insulted, retorts at Agamemnon reminding him of all the honors and loyalty he has earned while he shamelessly earns his pillage through his lust for greed. "Shameless-armored in shamelessness-always shrewd with greed…my honors never equal yours, whenever we sack some wealthy Trojan stronghold-my arms bear the brunt of the raw, savage fighting…I have no mind to linger here disgraced, brimming your cup and piling up your plunder," (1.174-202). Achilles cannot control his pride or rage, which at some point in the epic poisons him, and as a result he does not stop his rage and brutality against the Trojans and Hector's corpse. After Hector took his last breathe, Achilles ruthlessly molested his corpse. "He was bent on outrage, on shaming noble Hector…Piercing the tendons, ankle to heel behind both feet, he knotted straps of rawhide through them both, lashed them to his...
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