Achilles; the Hero of the Trojan War
The story of Achilles and the Trojan for has been told since the first cities in ancient Greece. This epic tale of war, bravery, and death was originally a wives-tale told around Greece, but around the eighth century B.C. a poet named Homer put the story to paper. The Iliad tells the tale of Greece and it’s greatest warrior, Achilles, sacking the city of Troy, and waging war on King Priam. Achilles fights to mark his name in history in this epic war that continues over 10 years. The role that Achilles plays varies slightly between adaptations of this story, such as in the Iliad and the movie Troy, directed by Wolfgang Peterson in 2004.
Achilles is not only a hero of ancient Greece and a legendary warrior, but he is also a demi-god, or half god and half human. The son of Peleus, king of the Myrmidons, and the nymph Thetis, was dipped in the river Styx by his mother to grant him immortality. And immortal he was, all except the heel his mother held him by. His immortality and the blood of the gods in his veins allowed Achilles to become the deadliest warrior in Greece, but also gave him a temper and an ego that no man could tame. The story of the Trojan war mostly takes place in the final weeks of the long war, when the High King Agamemnon demands a women that Achilles has captured. Achilles feels dishonored and refuses to fight in the King’s war. This small quarrel between the greek lords causes a chain of events that leads to the end of the war and the fall of Troy.
In the Iliad, King Agamemnon takes a girl, Briseis, that Achilles took captive after sacking the Temple of Apollo. The king is forced to give up his captive, Chryseis, after her father, a priest of Apollo prayed for Apollo to send a plague. Achilles takes this gesture as a dishonor of having his plunder and glory taken away from him, and refused to fight for Agamemnon any longer. This shows how Achilles allows his pride to take him over, and not claim the chance of glory in the war. After his arguement with the king, Achilles prays to Zeus to give the Trojans strength over Agamemnon to show him that the High King needs him in order to win the war. Achilles arrogance causes him to pray for his kinsman and countrymen to do poorly in the battles again the Trojans. When the Greeks loose hope, Achilles cousin, Partoclus, dresses in his cousins armor and leads the Greeks against the Trojans. In the heat of the battle, Hector, the commander of the Trojan army, and the eldest son of King Priam, kills Patroclus, mistaking him for Achilles. Upon hearing the news of his cousins death, Achilles enters a rage that only the god’s themselves could restrain. Achilles butchered through hundreds of Trojans before finding Hector. The Trojan prince tried to run, but was tricked by the goddess Athena and came face to face with Achilles. With no hesitation Achilles slew Hector, setting the first piece in the downfall of Troy.
In the film, the character of Achilles almost mirrors the character in the Iliad. He is