The Personal Growth of Achilles in Iliad

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From the begging of The Iliad, the character Achilles is played out to be a very petty, haughty, and vengeful character. Throughout the book Achilles can seem to be a little rude but towards the end he seems to have matured and can be seen to have some heroic characteristics. This could be due to some of the hardships that he had seen throughout his life. His growth can show us that no matter what you act like you can always mature and you can always rise up from where you are. In the first book Agamemnon takes Briseis which is “Achilles prize”. This makes Achilles mad. He even goes on to say, “I refused that glittering price for the young girl Chryseis. Indeed, I prefer her by far, the girl herself. I want her mine in my own house! I rank her higher than Clyternnestra. my wedded wife” (1.129-133). So he tells Agamemnon to return Chryseis or he will not fight in the war anymore. This is just one example how in the beginning of the book that Achilles was very immature and goes to show that he pretty much acts like a kid who has a tantrum when he doesn’t get what he wants.

Even though he acted like this throughout most of the book, something happened to him that seemed to have changed the way that he felt towards his companions. It may of had to do with the fact that Patroclus had died. That was his best friend. They were there for each other through their highs and lows, so I guess I would be very sad too and want to change my perspective on life if that happened to me. After the sad event that happened to Achilles, he had seemed to find compassion towards people and started to become a better person. We most see this change in him in book 24 or also known as the last book. “Feel no anger at me, Patroclus. if you learn-even there in the House of Death-I let his father have Prince Hector back” (24.695-697). This was very unlike Achilles to do this. He felt sorry for Priam and gave Hector back. When Priam had gotten into Achilles he even treated him like royalty, he had told his man to make him a bed and put some “heavy purple throws” (24.758) on the beds. After this it happened, Achilles had said, “I will hold back myself and keep the Argive armies back that long (24.773-774). This is saying that Achilles held his armies back so that there could be enough time for Hector to be buried that way he could be honored for Priam’s sake. If Achilles had still acted like he did in book one he would’ve never done this. His actions had come to show that he had really change and that he could actually be compassionate. In conclusion, Achilles had a personal growth from being immature and acting like a child to finding his own maturity and acting like a grown adult. The way that he has acted can teach us all a lesson. It can teach us that we all have improvements to make and we can all mature and to be nice to everyone,

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