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The Iliad Research Essay

The Iliad Research Essay - Jasmin A Singletary Dr Donna M...

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Jasmin A. Singletary Dr. Donna M. Gould English 1023H 19 April 2007 Out of the Dark: From Ferocity to Serenity: The Development of Achilles in The Iliad “Rage-Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles…” (1.1). Immediately the intensity of emotion and passion possessed becomes evident as Homer opens his great epic detailing the wrath of the legendary character Achilles. Achilles’ anger continues to position itself at the forefront of the poem as Homer traces his development from an immature undeveloped character motivated by rage to a better improved and reconcilable man more inclined to compassion. In the beginning of The Iliad , it becomes apparent that Achilles is a strong hero, “brave” and “godlike” yet also characterized and susceptible to fury, described by his rival Agamemnon as “the most violent man alive” (1.153-154;172). However, in its primitive stage, his anger needs a catalyst before erupting and developing into a more threatening force. His resentment toward Agamemnon thus becomes his justification for his sudden explosion of rage, as he is offended by Agamemnon’s tactics and greed. The rage, Achilles harbors, then begins to blossom into a more menacing power as he contemplates on whether he should “draw the long sharp sword at his hip…and kill Agamemnon” (1.224-225). The fact that Achilles hesitates before committing the violent act, suggests that he still has partial control over his logic and rationale. He does not yet
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Singletary completely submit to his anger because he is aware and concerned of the consequences his actions may bring. His ability to reason is short-lived, however because instead of relaxing his anger he swears an oath of vengeance: I swear, a yearning for Achilles will strike Achaea’s sons and all your armies! But then, Atrides, harrowed as you will be, nothing you do can save you-not when your hordes of fighters drop and die, cut down by the man-killing Hector! Then- then you will tear your heart out, desperate, raging that you disgraced the best of the Achaeans! (1.281-287) His oath inconsequently punishes his fellow Greek comrades as well as Agamemnon
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