From the initial callousness and stubborn temper of Achilles in the first books
of the Iliad to the eventual 'humanization' of Achilles in his interaction
with the grieving father of Hector, whom Achilles himself slew, the Iliad can be
seen to chronicle the maturation of the Greek hero during the terrible battles
of the Trojan War. Achilles is a hero in the epic sense, complete with flaws and
bad qualities that round out the character, but with passions and convictions
that any reader can relate to. Throughout the course of the Iliad, Homer creates
the character of Achilles to be that kind of hero in every sense of the word. As
the novel begins, we first meet with Achilles in his interaction with the great
king, Agamemnon. It may be said that Achilles shows himself to be a horribly
hard-headed individual, and this is obviously true. But, in this encounter with
the powerful king, Achilles also shows some of his more respectable qualities;
such as courage, honour, and a sense of justice.
Achilles does not feel that it
is right that he or the rest of the soldiers should be punished for the
brashness of their commander. So, as the epic starts to unwind, Achilles is
described as a strong-willed, though a bit hot tempered, man. It is in the
following books that Achilles shows some of his not to desirable qualities, yet
in these qualities the character of Achilles is ultimately developed. Homer
describes the plot of Achilles to avenge his disgrace at the hand of Agamemnon.
He has his mother, the goddess Thetis, asks Zeus to punish the Achaeans on behalf
of her and Achilles. Zeus reluctantly agrees to this, and Achilles success in
having the whole of his people subjected to a brutal and costly...