Essay by ajmisfitangelHigh School, 12th gradeA, October 2005

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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...