What was Achilles's reaction to Patroclus's death?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Achilles is absolutely devastated by Patroclus's death. Patroclus was his bosom buddy, his best friend in the whole world. They had such a strong connection, both as friends and soldiers. It's a sign of just how much Patroclus meant to Achilles that his friend's death causes him to return to battle.

Previously, the Achaeans' finest warrior had been sulking in his tent, furious at being disrespected by Agamemnon. No matter how much his comrades pleaded with him, no matter how many Achaeans were slaughtered by the Trojans, Achilles steadfastly refused to set foot outside his tent and give battle. It took the death of his closest friend to get him to come out.

For Achilles, the death of Patroclus is personal; he regards the actions of Hector in killing Patroclus as an insult to him. So even when he finally returns to the fray, Achilles is fighting to avenge the death of his fallen friend and comrade, not for the greater glory of the Achaeans in their seemingly never-ending war with the...

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