Describe Achilles State of Mind and Assess How He Was Influenced by Other Characters of the Epic?

Topics: Achilles, Iliad, Greek mythology Pages: 3 (1109 words) Published: January 12, 2011
Achilles possesses superhuman strength and has a close relationship with the gods; he has all the marks of a great warrior, and indeed is proved to be the mightiest man in the Achaean army. At the beginning his mind is calm and collected, he stands up justly for the men around him and shows understanding when confronting Agamemnon, however his deep-seated character flaws constantly hinder his ability to act with nobility and integrity constantly. He cannot control his arrogance or the rage that surges up when his pride is injured. This dislikable attribute of his causes him to abandoned his comrades and even pray that the Trojans will slaughter them, all because he has been insulted at the hands of his commander, Agamemnon. Like most Homeric characters, Achilles does not develop significantly over the course of the epic; his state of mind is constantly fluctuating between where his rage is being directed all through the book. Although the death of Patroclus prompts him to seek reconciliation with Agamemnon, it does not lessen his rage, but instead redirects it toward Hector. The event does not make Achilles a more deliberative or self-reflective character. Though his mind is filled with grief and despair over his friend’s death, this only helps fuel his bloodlust, wrath, and pride that continue to consume his mind throughout the epic. He mercilessly mauls his opponents, their bodies filling the river Xanthus, angering the god, which Achilles’ shamelessly takes no note to. He immorally desecrates the body of Hector, and savagely sacrifices twelve Trojan men at the funeral of Patroclus. He does not relent in this brutality until the final book of the epic, when King Priam, begging for the return of Hector’s desecrated corpse, appeals to Achilles’ memory of his father, Peleus. Yet it remains unclear whether a father’s heartbroken pleas really transformed Achilles, or whether this scene merely testifies to Achilles’ acceptance of the god’s words, as he had...
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