Achilles is the pre-eminent warrior among the Achaeans, and his status as such makes his rage the primary driver of events in the Iliad. Wherever his rage is directed, the action of the poem follows.
The poem opens at the end of the decade-long siege of Troy, with the Greek and Trojan armies locked in a stalemate. When Agamemnon humiliates Achilles in front of the troops, Achilles retaliates by quitting the battlefield, leaving the Achaeans without their best warrior.
- This turns the tide of the war in favor of the Trojans, thus ending the stalemate. The Trojan army makes massive gains against the Achaeans and nearly succeeds in finishing them off.
- Achilles, still furious with Agamemnon, refuses to rejoin the battle, so his best friend, Patroclus, offers to go in his stead, saying that if he wears Achilles’s armor, the troops will believe Achilles himself is among them, and it will boost their morale while frightening the Trojans. Achilles reluctantly agrees. Patroclus is killed by...
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