Achilles, The Super Yuppie

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA-, November 1996

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In the beginning of Homer's The Iliad, Achilles is arguing with Agamemnon over a girl. Since Achilles does not get what he wants, he decides to leave the battle that they are in. However, this is no small battle, this is the Trojan War. Achilles' action shapes the outcome of the battle, for the next fifteen or so books, with the Greeks losing. One can conclude, after reading The Iliad that Achilles is so self-centered that he kills in battle for glory, not honor; that Achilles is the first yuppie, according to Russell Baker; and that Homer does not like Achilles as much as he seems to like Hector or even other characters in this poem.

Achilles seems to kill for glory and not for honor which is shown through the reasons he decides to leave the battle against Troy. He leaves because Agamemnon does not want to do what he says: Give Chryseis back to her father.

Naive as he is, he believes that his word should be law. Then he publicly blames Agmemnon for the destruction that Apollo caused described in lines 1.93-95:

'No, it is not for the sake of some vow or hecatomb he blames us, but for the sake of his priest whom Agamemnon dishonoured and would not give him back his daughter nor accept the ransom. (1.93- 1.95)

After doing this, Achilles decides not to fight because he thinks the other soldiers do not believe him to be the greatest warrior of all time. Because he will not gain any glory from fighting, he decides not to fight. Honor is something earned; Achilles believes that Agamemnon has taken away his honor by not listening to him. The opposite is true: Achilles dishonored himself by trying to govern a prize won that was not...