Achilles is both sad and angry at the opening of The Iliad. He is sad because he has lost his friend Patroclus, who was killed by Hector in battle. He is angry because the gods have taken away his power as a warrior and given it to Hector.
Achilles’ anger is caused by Zeus, who has taken away his power as a warrior and given it to Hector. This makes Achilles feel “stripped” (1.3), since he was always proud of his strength as a warrior, and now he can no longer fight effectively on the battlefield. Achilles is also angry because he feels that Zeus has wronged him:
I cannot bear the thought that any mortal should ever surpass me in martial prowess; nor can I endure that my lot should be inferior to that of others among the immortals (1.4).
Achilles also feels betrayed by Zeus, who promised him that he would be invincible if he fought in Troy’s defense:
Zeus, son of Cronos, who reigns with might over mortals and immortals, promised me that if I came with my bronze-armored comrades-in-arms against Ilion [Troy], we should sack the city and return home with much boot.
Last modified: November 27, 2022