Achilles

So I’ve talked a bit about Achilles and what he’s done, but I haven’t strictly analysed him as a character in each text yet. There are many key things to note when exploring the two different Achilles, but the main differences go as following. Homer’s Achilles in the Iliad is a mighty warrior with godly heritage, his mother being the sea-nymph Thetis and his father being the leader of the Argonauts who searched and found the legendary golden fleece. It is explained that he as a child was bathed by Thetis in the river Styx and this made his skin impenetrable to all but his heel (This later becomes his downfall). However, Peterson shows no sign of explaining this and in fact, Achilles speaks to a child that asks him if he is really immortal in the film. Achilles replies “I wouldn’t be bothering with the shield then, would I?”. It is then later proven that Achilles is not immortal/impenetrable as Paris shoots multiple arrows into Achilles’ chest which then leads to his death. Something else to note is that in the movie Achilles dies a lot later on the plot timeline then in the Iliad where Achilles did not live to see the Trojan horse massacre. In the film, Peterson makes it known Achilles’ desire for glory and bases his entire theme for the film around this idea. Achilles says things like “Get up, Prince of Troy! I won’t let a stone rob me of my glory! “, and when a messenger boy says “The Thesselonian you’re fighting… he’s the biggest man i’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t want to fight him. ” Achilles replies “Thats why no-one will remember your name.”. This clearly depicts Achilles’ lust for glory and it is later shown in the film how he actively tries to preserve this.

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In the Iliad, . The very first line of the Iliad hints towards this theme when Homer asks the muse to sing “wrath of Achilles.” . It is the theme of the wrath of Achilles. The Iliad tells the story of how Achilles’ wrath and rage is the one thing that kills him. It is not very clear whether Achilles desired glory or not in the Iliad, however Achilles did still choose to fight the Trojans even after the warning from Thetis “For my mother Thetis the goddess of the silver feet tells me I carry two sorts of destiny toward the day of my death. Either, if I stay here and fight beside the city of the Trojans, my return home is gone, but my glory shall be everlasting; but if I return home to the beloved land of my fathers, the excellence of my glory is gone, but there will be a long life left for me, and my end in death will not come to me quickly” . However, Achilles’ wrath is also shown when his mother warns him that his death is to follow Hectors and Achilles replies “Then let me die at once.”. Achilles still chose to die with glory rather than live with love. This leaves Achilles as a wrathful man whose desire for glory eventually kills him.

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To sum up, both Achilles, Homers’ and Peterson’, were two very similar characters, however the intentions of their authors still has an influence on their actions and therefore making them somewhat different at the same time. Until next time 😀

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