In the Iliad, what are four results of Achilles' pride?

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  • While Achilles is busy sulking in his tent, his comrades are getting a good, hard thrashing on the field of battle. Without their finest warrior, the Achaeans are in big trouble against the Trojans. Achilles may be brave, but as far as he's concerned, he's bigger than the entire Achaean...

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  • While Achilles is busy sulking in his tent, his comrades are getting a good, hard thrashing on the field of battle. Without their finest warrior, the Achaeans are in big trouble against the Trojans. Achilles may be brave, but as far as he's concerned, he's bigger than the entire Achaean army. Without him, they're nothing.
  • As he broods over what he perceives as unfair treatment by Agamemnon, Achilles gets angrier by the minute. He's like a ticking time bomb, ready to go off at any moment. Woe betide anyone who makes him even more upset than he already is.
  • It doesn't matter how many times Agamemnon or any of his comrades try to coax him out of his tent, Achilles simply won't budge. His pride is overwhelming, and inextricably linked with his brooding, simmering wrath.
  • Just as Achilles takes the appropriation of his concubine by Agamemnon as an affront to his pride, so too does he regard the killing of his bosom buddy Patroclus as a personal insult. Only the slaughter of his closest friend is enough to get Achilles to step outside his tent and enter once more into the thick of battle. The consequences for Hector—for he it was who killed Patroclus—are terrible indeed. His death at the hands of the Achaeans' finest warrior and the subsequent degradation of his corpse represent the absolute apex of Achilles's terrifying, implacable wrath.
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There are four major results of Achilles' pride to be found throughout The Iliad, including alienation, wrath, vengeance, and death.

Alienation

The Greek warrior Agamemnon insults Achilles' pride by demanding that he surrender Briseis. Briseis was a maid Achilles had claimed as a prize of war, and Agamemnon's demand challenges Achilles' status as a leader. As a result, he withdraws from the Greek forces and does nothing to help when the Trojans attack. This alienation segues directly into the next result of Achilles' pride, which is his wrath.

Wrath

Achilles' pride commonly results in wrath, which is a major theme throughout The Iliad. The Muse is even asked to sing of the "wrath of Achilles." Achilles has a strong sense of honor that leads him to wrath as a response to certain events that violate his high standards of honor, particularly the capture of Briseis. To the Greeks, honor was based on the pursuit of excellence, nobility, valor, and accomplishment. The wrath of Achilles is strongly related to each concept, and all stem from his pride as a warrior. Whenever Achilles' pride leads him to feel that his honor has been violated, wrath is the result.

Vengeance

When Achilles' friend Patroclus is killed by Hector, Achilles' pride plays a large role in his quest for vengeance. It is also his pride, both in himself as a warrior and in his friendship with Patroclus, that leads him to kill Hector on the battlefield. Despite Achilles' disdain for the fallen warrior, Hector's father successfully recovers his son's body by appealing to Achilles' pride through begging.

Death

As the son of a mortal man and a goddess, Achilles was given the choice between living with the gods in a peaceful existence and pursuing glory among the humans. He chooses the life of a warrior and, in doing so, dies the death of an honored mortal. This choice exemplifies Achilles' pride better than any other. Rather than live a peaceful and long life without valor, his pride motivates him to lead the dangerous life of a warrior. Achilles is the greatest warrior among the Achaeans, which further bolsters his pride and confidence.

Throughout The Iliad, it is heavily implied that Achilles' fabled heel is a metaphor for his pride. After being dipped in the river Styx, Achilles is invulnerable everywhere except the heel by which his mother held him. Both his pride and his heel serve as his primary weaknesses. In the end, Achilles is killed by an arrow that strikes his vulnerable heel. Hector's brother is the one who shoots the arrow and kills Achilles out of vengeance. Because Achilles' pride was the primary reason he killed Hector, it could be argued that his pride indirectly leads to his own death.

Through these four results of Achilles' pride, we see that this characteristic is both his greatest strength and his most fatal weakness.

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