Achilles Character, Essay Example

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Essay

The character Achilles, from Homer’s Iliad, can be described in three words: angry, courageous, and greedy.  Achilles character as “angry” is brought to life in the first passage of Book I where it is said, “the anger of Achilles son of Peleius, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures”.  This passage is suggesting that Achilles’ anger brought upon a war, which led to sorrow and death.  The passage also indicates that is was through Achilles’ anger that many heroes were killed and fed upon by animal scavengers on the battlefield.  Not only does this portray Achilles as angry, but it portrays him as selfish, in that he doesn’t care about the many people who are dying for “his anger”.

Although Achilles character is constructed as full of anger, his character is also portrayed as courageous. For instance, a plague occurs across the Greek armies because Agamemnon refuses to return the daughter of a Priest of Apollo.  Achilles character confronts the king on the situation.  This leads the reader to believe the Achilles is extremely courageous.  We then begin to understand how he is able to lead a war.

Achilles character is also created as greedy.  He possesses the good quality of being courageous; however, this quality helps him try to achieve want he wants.  For example, in Book I, Achilles states, “You forget this, and threaten to rob me of the prize which I have toiled, and which the sons of Achaeans have given me”.  Achilles is speaking, or as written in the passage, scolding, with Agamemnon at this point and no longer wants to fight for him because Agmemnon doesn’t want to share his wealth, even if Achilles is the one obtaining his power.  This shows that if Agmemnon were to give Achilles more of a prize, that he might continue fighting for him, even if Agmemnon is not of good nature or character, all for greed.

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