Rage With Achilles ' Rage ' Essay

917 Words Oct 28th, 2016 4 Pages
Rage, the most destructive and insatiable form of anger, is the very first word of the Iliad. From the beginning to nearly the end, the plot is driven by the rage of a variety of characters, but one stands far apart from the others. The focus of this paper will be primarily on the greatest rage of them all, Achilles’. His wrath, the embodiment of his rage, is said to be, “Black and murderous,” (1:2), from the very first page. While other men and even the Gods also have rage, Achilles’ inability to let go of his rage is what sets him apart. To prove this, I will contrast the nature other characters’ rage with Achilles’ and look at shifts in the nature of his rage.
The first fleshed out example of rage in the Iliad is Apollo’s anger toward the Achaens. The dealer of death from afar, “descended Olympus’ crags / […] bow slung over one shoulder / [...] And shot until the death-fires crowded the beach.” (1:52-60) because the Achaens took Chryseis, the daughter of one of his sacred priests, as a rightful spoil of war. Apollo then reigns death upon the Achaen army for over a week until finally they return his priest’s daughter and sacrifice oxen in his honor. After nearly destroying an entire army for taking an arguably rightful spoil of war, he immediately relinquishes his wrath when due recompense is given. This gives precedence for the immediacy of justice in Homeric Greece, and shows how quickly remission should be given when a fair restitution is supplied.

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