The Pursuit Of Goodness In Homer's Iliad

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In Homer’s Iliad Achilles embodies the struggle of the human condition. Achilles illustrates an extreme example of every man’s battle with mortality and imperfection. Trapped between the divine and the beasts, perfect dignity and irrational savagery, man is willing to destroy himself and those around him in the pursuit of greatness. Mankind is under the false impression that the universe owes us something and this idea fuels the disappointment and bitterness that follows injustice. As seen with Achilles’ rage, this entitlement allows for the justification of the horrific evils man is willing to commit all in the name of “righteousness.” In both the pagan and the christian view of just anger, Achilles’ explosive anger, seemingly so natural to …show more content…
When someone is offended or violated our natural defense mechanism is to defend ourselves from the antagonizer and anger can be a means of self-preservation. Achilles does more than this. He not only seeks to defend himself and his interests but he disregards this natural self-preservation and decides to serve rage as his master as is man’s temptation. Anger has the power to consume and when one chooses anger they make themselves vulnerable to the intoxication that can follow. Humans crave power and rage possesses a frightening power that can easily lure man away from self-control. Rage reveals the potential we have for a certain horrible greatness. In the moment that Achilles learns of Patroklos’ death the power that he exhibits in his misery is more than most men could dream of. Achilles is hurting so gravely that the pain that could potentially come from such a destructive state seems laughable at the time but to those around him he is both a god and a monster. Achilles becomes the ultimate force against those who offend him. In terms of evolution and natural selection Achilles is the perfect being, gravely powerful and willing to fight, but in regards to morality he dabbles with a harder …show more content…
Achilles dares to defy the warrior values and spits in the face of the gods and the consequences that come from that caution man against such bold actions. They honor him in literature and art but grieve him as the one who was meant to be more but was plagued by the trials of his mortal existence to the point of tragedy. He is a great and terrible tragedy. Similar to the commonly accepted ideas of entitlement, Achilles believes himself wronged of his innate right to power. As it was intended, Achilles was to be the son of Zeus and the heir to Olympus but he was denied this greatness when Zeus tricked Thetis, Achilles’ mother, to lie with another man. Thus “robbing” Achilles of the heavens and condemning him to a life of mortal imperfection. Achilles’ ambition plagues him in the knowledge that he was meant to be greater and that the whims of fate changed his story. Whether or not individuals think they are entitled to riches or greatest all men share a similar idea. We believe we have some right to greatness, something innate right that when we were created we were destined for something more than the simplicity of a monotone mortality. Whether it is a taught ideal or a instinctual craving the yearning for more than our lot in this life haunts the human

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