The Epic Education of Achilles in Homer's The Iliad Essay

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The Epic Education of Achilles in Homer's The Iliad

Dr. Fly’s comments: This paper was well-organized and developed; the thesis was argued in a logical fashion; material from primary and secondary sources was well-documented and integrated smoothly into the text; the author’s style was clear, with varied and sophisticated sentence structures and concrete vocabulary; and the paper demonstrated excellent command of grammar and mechanics. Within the annals of epic literature, the celebrated role of "epic hero" has always been present, heralding the poem's themes through the actions of a single, extraordinary protagonist. Strong and courageous, he is caught within the nets of mortality, and, at times, he may struggle to
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With this action, Achilles demonstrates his complete reliance on brutality and the more violent, primitive forms of justice, giving credence to his association with a “lion... [whose] deadly energy... [is] the brute force of beasts...” (King 19). At this stage of his development, he is shown as being susceptible only to his anger, and the goddess Athena has to swoop down from the sky to remind Achilles that he is not acting in accordance with divine virtue: “check your rage if only you will yield... Obey [the gods]" (1.242-251). In this scene, “Achilles has spoken and acted thoughtlessly…he sees a point and goes straight to it, feels an emotion and gives way to it immediately" (Redfield 90). This incident, however, also marks the beginning of his journey to overcome this pride as he acknowledges the words of the goddess in the noble response: "If a man obeys the gods they're quick to hear his prayers" (1.256-257). This simple statement signifies that Achilles is able to understand the knowledge of the gods and that he has an ability to decipher and accept these divine virtues.

However, this type of development will come much later in the poem. Throughout the first half of The Iliad, Achilles is an arrogant and selfish character, especially when he reacts negatively to the Achaean embassy that has been sent to persuade him to rejoin the battle and displays "an irrational impulse of anger" (Schein 115). Odysseus begs

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