Throughout the enitre epic that is the Iliad, Homer gives us a choice. Do we believe that the gods of Mt. Olympus control and interfere in human lives creating the many dramas that is the Greek life or do humans control their own destiny while using the gods as an excuse for their misfortunes? The arguement and reconciliation of Achilles and Agamemnon perfectly illustrate this delimma through their speeches of supposed forgiveness and understanding.
The reconciliation begins with the death of Achilles close friend, Patroclus. This flies Achilles into another rage and he is ready for vengeance against the Trojan army. This means that he must make amends with Agamemnon. He states, “Agamemnon, was it better for both us, after all, for you and me to rage at each other… consumed by heartsick strife, all for a young girl?”(490). In that very line, he blames Briseis for their feud. In a very basic understanding, Briseis could be a cause of the fight. However, their argument truly stems from their selfishness and their pride. It was Agamemnon’s greed that caused him to take Achilles’ prize and it was Achilles’ pride that caused his anger towards Agamemnon.
Achilles’ reason leads us to the idea the Greeks themselves control their fate. He makes no mention of gods or supernatural forces that may have caused his anger. He blatantly states that it was over a girl which is a very human trait, but it is important to remember that Achilles reasoning for this truce is not for the good of the Greek armies. Rather it is for his own reasons. Once more, this illustrates that Achilles is choosing his own fate. He could have helped the Greek armies long ago, and maybe Patroclus would have not died. It is obvious throughout the story the gods are on the side of the Greeks, meaning that it was surely the “destiny” of the Greeks to win undisputedly. However, as read in Book One, Achilles asked Zeus to be on the side of the Trojans. Achilles chose not to fight. His choice not fight...
Cited: Homer. The Iliad. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Viking, 1990. Print.
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