Achilles: A True Hero In The Iliad

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In the Iliad, we are introduced to many great warriors, kings, women, and gods. Of all these characters, Achilles is the greatest and most complex figure to appear in the story. He was the most physically capable Greek at the time and feared all across the Aegean. On the other hand, he is plagued with numerous character flaws that may prevent readers from recognizing him as a true hero. Despite these flaws, Achilles manages to retain the attention and interest of the reader. Throughout the entirety of the Iliad, we see Achilles transform into a character with which we can empathize.
Throughout the Iliad, Achilles is known as the fiercest warrior in all of Greece by every character, including the Greek king, Agamemnon. He is described by
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He was most likely an extraordinarily agile and strong fighter able to easily outmaneuver or overpower any opposition on the battlefield. Not only was he ‘god like’, he was in fact a demigod, son of Thetis. The combination of his demigod status and his warrior mindset allowed him to go into battle with the confidence and courage needed to become one of the greatest fighter of his era. He so heavily relies on his combat expertise in the beginning of the Iliad that he comes off as a one dimensional savage who holds little regard for anyone other than himself. Achilles also “holds within himself all the heroic virtues that are given singly to others” such as the agility of Oliean and the strength of Ajax [1]. He is essentially the epitome of a soldier; tenacious, speedy, daring, and skilled in the art of …show more content…
The beginning of the Iliad introduces us to his real ‘Achilles heel’; his rage. Achilles becomes blinded with rage when Agamemnon takes his prize. His reaction to this is not becoming of a man who is believed to be the offspring of a goddess and shows us how childish he is by competing with his fellow Greeks. He becomes so infuriated that he does not go to battle, instead he lets thousands of his countrymen die due to his absence. His decision to withdraw from battle shows us how petty Achilles is and how self-centered he can be, which makes readers question his nobility and creates a distance between him and the reader. In Book IX Achilles says, “I cannot imagine Agamemnon, or any other Greek, persuading me [to return to battle], not after the thanks I got for fighting this war”. He is isolated from other characters in the sense that he has no motive to fight, instead he simply fights because he wants to, because he is good at it, and for the recognition he will receive when he is done. Since Achilles fights just to fight, we are unable to relate to him and may get the impression that he is a brute who shows little compassion toward others. We see a perfect example of both his rage and insensitivity when he slaughtered Hector to avenge Patroclus and unremorsefully drags his body around the city, denying Hector a proper

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