Character analysis of Achilles


Achilles is the hero of Iliad whose wrath has turned the story of Trojan war. He participated in the Trojan war on the Greek side. He is the son of sea nymph Thetis and Greek king Peleus. Achilles was raised in Phthia. He was the leader of fierce myrmidons. Achilles is bold, fierce as well as quick tempered. At the first stage of The Iliad Achilles was intrigued to find out the reason for the devastating plague disease by Hera. Thus he calls an assembly and by doing this ,he breaks the discipline of command because only the king can call on an assembly. However, Achilles was successful in finding out that The Greek king Agamemnon is solely responsible for their misery. At one stage of discord, he even tries to kill Agamemnon but can not do it because of Athena’s interruption. Athena is a god of wisdom who helps Achilles a numerous time for various purposes. For this discord, Achilles leaves the war. But when Agamemnon sends an embassy with a proposal of expensive gifts, Achilles does not accept this because material gifts can not recover the public insults he had to face. Moreover, as Agamemnon snatches Achilles’ gift Briseis, Achilles seems this conflict as justified as a Trojan war. He thinks himself at the place of Menelaus.

The modern readers may find Achilles less than heroic because he is helped by the gods Athena,Hera,Zeus,Thetis for many times. His fight with river god Scamander is one of the most cruel scenes of this book.

However this quick tempered hero only shows love towards his friend and cousin Patroclus. He is a tragic figure according to many critics. Even after knowing that his death will be followed just next to Hector’s death,he himself goes to kill Hector for seeking revenge for his dead friend Patrolus. Only after killing Hector, Achilles’ wrath ends. He shows profound respect to king Priam, the Trojan king, whom he finds as a father figure.

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