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“The Iliad” Q&A:
1. What is your impression of Achilles?
I feel as if Achilles is very loyal to all the people associated in his life, especially his best friend Patroclus. Achilles’ loyalty to his best friend shows how much he actually cared about him once he was deceased due to his great sorrow in his weeping. Achilles also stated “if destiny like his awaits me, I shall rest when I have fallen” meaning he doesn’t care about whatever happens to him in the battle with Hector, but just as long as he shows his participation and grief. When Hector and Achilles faced each other he had great determination into killing his foe in spite of his best friend, twirling his shaft twice at Hector killing him. Achilles seems to be sensitive once Priam brings up his father, then his mood changes and sadness fills the room. Overall, Achilles seems to have much love between his companions.
2. In your opinion, does Achilles’ loyalty to his friend Patroclus justify the way he treats Hector?
Yes, Achilles’ loyalty to his friend Patroclus justifies the way he treats Hector because once he struck Hector through the neck, he asked him if he thought he could kill Patroclus and be safe. Right after that conversation they had Achilles tells Hector that the dogs and kites will rip his body, while Patroclus will lie in honor during his funeral. Achilles tells Hector he will have no bed of death, nor will he be laid out and mourned by her who gave him birth, basically showing his incredible hate for Hector doing this heinous crime to his best friend.
3. How would you describe the relationship between Achilles and Priam?
The relationship between Achilles and Priam would be best described as mutual. Priam seems to bring up Achilles’ father frequently in the confrontation they have about returning Hector’s body, maybe the elder fathers knew each other before he passed therefore they have some sort of relationship. It seems that when Priam brings up Achilles’ father Achilles has a mood change and turns into deep despair, while feeling sympathy for Priam. When Achilles lifts Priam’s hand and puts it by his it shows that he is no longer harsh towards the old man and weeps for his father, as for Patroclus. After this event occurs, Achilles tells Priam straight up about the reality dealing with his son and to not mourn for too long or he will be left with coldness.
4. To what extent do Achilles and Hector correspond to your idea of a hero?
Achilles corresponds more to my idea of a hero just because of the great loyalty he showed towards Patroclus and the way he fought to get justice in his own hands with Hector. I admired the way he distinguished true characteristics of a hero by fulfilling the many aspects modern day heroes portray. Achilles was not going to allow anybody to kill his companion without any brutal fight, and he made sure the last move made was the one to kill Hector.
5. How might your impression of Achilles be different if he refused to give Hector’s body to Priam?
My impression of Achilles would’ve been slightly different if he refused to give Hector’s body to Priam just because I don’t feel like keeping the dead body of a person and not to return the body to their family, isn’t right morally and socially. A family should be able to have the right to bury their loved ones, no matter what mistakes they may have made in the past. It is everybody’s right to receive a proper burial ceremony for their own and to mourn for their life in the least heartbreaking way. Even though Hector did kill Achilles’ partner in crime it’s only right to give back a body that does not belong to him. Just because it wouldn’t be right if Priam or anybody did that to Achilles’ body, his parents would go the full extent just like Priam did to receive Hector’s back, so he should just put himself in Priam’s shoes.
6. In your opinion, which character is the most courageous? Why?
I think the character that is the most courageous is Priam because he approached Achilles in a very vague way and basically begged on his knees for Hector’s body back. Priam traveled miles forth and brought ransom without stint just as an effort to persuade Achilles for a return. When Priam heads to the Greek camp, he is also only accompanied by an old servant more than likely the same age as him, not fearing anything that’s in store for him. Priam due to his old age is very courageous and will strive for whatever is in his mind, proving he is not fragile.
7. Do you think leaders of rival nations, tribes, or groups should settle differences between themselves without involving their followers? Is it possible or practical to settle conflicts this way?
Yes, I think leaders of rival nations should settle differences between themselves because one on one confrontations are more reasonable than having a group that is irrelevant to the whole situation. It is very possible to settle conflicts this way, they could even be a lot more peaceful than having groups gang up on each other which could result in mass casualties. With only two people fighting you know there will be one person who will survive and there will be no other outside obstacles just the two people who have problems and that’s it.
8. Who behaves more like a true epic hero?
I believe Beowulf behaves more like a true epic hero just because Achilles had Hector’s whole body stripped and he pierced the tendons, heel to ankle. He also lashed them to his chariot, letting the man’s head trail. The way Achilles treated Priam at first was not very “true epic hero” like and he should have respected his elders a little bit more. Achilles did not have to rip apart Hector’s body like a dog, he could’ve just handed the body just how it was to Priam without having him humiliate himself. As for Beowulf despite his old age, he took on a fire breathing dragon all for himself, fearlessly. His determination in killing the creature showed similar characteristics like Achilles but overcame him.

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