• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What do we learn from this passage about the character of Achilles? Support your arguements with references from the text.

Extracts from this document...


What do we learn from this passage about the character of Achilles? Support your arguements with references from the text. From this short extract from Homer's Iliad we, the audience, are allowed an insight into the mind of Achilleus and his relationship with other characters, both mortals and gods. Lines 84 to 87 describe Achilleus' parentage; we discover he is the product of a marriage between the sea-nymph Thetis and the mortal Peleus. His link to the gods through his mother automatically grants the hero an unusual relationship with them. In the first four lines of this extract (70 to 74) we witness a scene where Achilleus laments the death of his friend, Patroklos. According to line 71 Achilleus sighed and, "cried out shrill and aloud". The language Homer uses conveys a sense of utter misery and regret. Throughout the poem we witness numerous examples of Achilleus' rage or pride resulting in an outburst from the hero. The intensity of these emotions is matched by that of his despair at the death of his comrade. It is unusual in works of this time for a hero, such as Achilleus, to have this side of his character revealed. ...read more.


Achilleus realises that he is but a mere mortal and a pawn in the games of the gods despite his parentage. He is happy to accept his fate not only because he realises there is nothing he can do to prevent it, the gods being all powerful, but also because he hopes to die a glorious death. Another part of Achilleus character is coming forth from the text at this point. He is trying to satisfy his desire for honour and eternal glory by dying a hero's death on the battlefield. This mixture of pride and bloodlust combined with his desire for revenge are what drives Achilleus to put his armour back on and rejoin the fighting. This is confirmed in the line, "Now I must win excellent glory". Ultimately he is willing to sacrifice everything including his life so that his name might be remembered. To conclude, Achilleus is a great hero who places great emphasis on his honour and pride. He has very intense emotions, Achilleus cares deeply for those whom he counts as friends but is completely without mercy to his enemies. Achilles is the greatest Homeric hero. How does he differ from a typical 21st century AD hero? ...read more.


Modern heroes are more likely to be found on the sport field than the battlefield. If Achilleus and the Iliad were to be transported through time into a modern setting it is most likely that the Greeks and the Trojans would be opposing football teams with Hector and Achilleus and their star players. It should not be said that modern society does not need or have a taste for heroes. Heroes are the people we look up to and idolise as perfect human beings. Heroes, or to use a more modern term, role models are an essential part of society as they give the remainder of the population a goal to achieve and someone to emulate. The Myceneans would have all wished to be as glorious as Achilleus and die in battle whereas we would all wish to be as famous as Michael Owen and score the winning goal in a world cup final. To conclude, the development of civilisation has bought with it a more developed and different set of moral values. These have meant that it is no longer considered noble to slay large numbers of people and die on the battlefield, the noble people of today's society prevent wars and death. The attitudes have so far changed that the character Homer wrote of as a hero would now be thought of as a threat to civilised society and would be tried for war crimes. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE War Poetry essays

  1. The character of Granny Weatherall, the central character in Katherine Anne Porter's 'The Jilting ...

    She reminisces about the wedding day and being left standing at the altar. Granny vividly remembers, "What does a woman do when she has put on the white veil and set out the white cake for a man and he doesn't come?"

  2. With reference to the text, what elements of the pardoner's tale make it an ...

    The shedding of blood is symbolic of death and so after they become 'blood brothers' it means that they all die if one dies; their destinies are connected. Death is also featured in a more concentrated form of the old man.

  1. If you were directing 'Educating Rita', how would you seek to achieve the humour ...

    must receive thy final Doom; Thy Noble Birth, thy Eloquence Divine, And shining Piety shall nought encline The stubborn Will of unrelenting Fate ... and Richard West's "A Monody on the Death of Queen Caroline" (Dodsley's Collection of Poems [1748]: II, 273): Ah me!

  2. Death Customs and Beliefs in Different Cultures

    Most people today do not practice the customs of the older cultures that have been mentioned previously. But, many of today's religions' practices are tied into those of the past. The majority of all of today's religions are monotheistic, meaning they believe in one supreme being or God which created and governs everything.

  1. The changing tradition of war poetry

    The simile is used too describe the soldiers. The reader finds it shocking because the other poems were completely opposite to this. This quote also creates a very vivid image of the conditions they are in. In addition it makes a picture of what has happened in war.

  2. Commentary of a passage from John Dollar by Marianne Wiggins

    These two powerful images reinforce the tone of the passage. The girls, between death and life, are surrounded by carnivores who try to eat them. Oopi is purchased by the birds, and in the description, the author gives the impression that she will be killed.

  1. The Iliad

    The boldness of the warriors of ancient Greece quickly turned a simple kidnapping into a war to the death (or recapture of Helen). This war seems grossly ruthless, and unnecessary to modern societies; but to the Greeks it was not viewed as irregular, or unethical.

  2. Death, Despair and Rebellion

    in its literal meaning, but more about the death of Bront�'s despair, hence I have used it as a poem of rebellion; Bront� is rebelling from her despair. The penultimate of Bront�'s poems that I chose is titled "I See Around Me Tombstones Grey".

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work