In the Iliad, what happens because of Achilles's anger? What are three consequences?

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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...

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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 Hector, the prince of Troy (and the Trojans’ own best warrior), shortly thereafter.
  3. Achilles is devastated by Patroclus’s death and redirects all his rage to the Trojans, and Hector in particular. He returns to the battlefield and the Achaeans, inspired by his presence, manage to beat the Trojans back to the walls of Troy. Achilles confronts Hector under the city walls and kills him in revenge for the death of Patroclus. The Trojan army thus loses its best warrior and, with him, any chance of winning the war.

So I’d say the three major consequences of Achilles’s rage are:

  1. The deadlock is broken and the Achaeans begin to lose, badly. Many, many soldiers die.
  2. Patroclus dies while fighting in Achilles’s stead, in an attempt to save the Achaeans. This switches the focus of Achilles’s rage from Agamemnon to Hector.
  3. Achilles almost single-handedly forces the Trojans back to their walls by cutting a bloody swathe through them in search of Hector, whom he finds, pursues, kills and then mutilates. The Trojans have no hope of winning without Hector, so Achilles has effectively ended the war (although the episode with the Horse happens in the Odyssey, it’s just a coda to the Iliad—the war is over when Hector dies, the Trojans just haven’t accepted it yet).
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In The Iliad, the Greeks' best fighter, Achilles, gets angry at the leader of the Greek army, Agamemnon, for ransoming one of his concubines back to the Trojans.

The first consequence of Achilles' anger is that he retaliates against Agamemnon and the Greeks by refusing to fight. Achilles even pulls his soldiers, the intrepid Myrmidons, off the field. 

The second consequence of Achilles' anger is that his refusal to fight swings the tide of the war. Up until this point, the Greeks had laid siege to the city of Troy for 10 years. While the siege had become a stalemate, the fact remained that the Greeks had the city surrounded, leaving the Trojans powerless to do anything but merely survive inside the city's walls. Without Achilles and the strength of his Myrmidons, the Trojans, led by the heroism of Hector, go on the attack and push the Greeks all the way back to their ships.

The third consequence of Achilles' anger is the death of his beloved friend, Patroclus. With the Trojans about to push the Greeks into the sea and defeat near, Patroclus begs Achilles to accept Agamemnon's apology and fight. Achilles refuses but lets Patroclus don his armor and rush into battle with the Myrmidons at his side. The other Greek soldiers, thinking that Achilles had taken the field again, push back the Trojan advance. However, Patroclus gets killed by Hector, making Achilles swear vengeance against Hector.

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The first consequence of Achilles' anger is that withdraws from the fighting and remains lounging in his tent. Shakespeare has comic scenes involving Achilles amusing himself in his tent along with Patroclus and the scurrilous clown Thersites in the play Troilus and Cressida

The second consequence is that without Achilles the Trojans are the superior fighting force. This is largely due to the leadership and example of their great hero Hector. Without Achilles, the Trojans begin overpowering the Greeks and driving them back towards their ships. Many Greeks appeal to Achilles to rejoin the fighting, but he is adamant. He wants them to appreciate how much they need him.

The third consequence is that Achilles' friend Patroclus borrows Achilles' armor in the hope of frightening the Trojans, who have advanced so far that they are fighting among the Greek ships and trying to set fire to them. But Hector slays Patroclus, thinking he is slaying Achilles. The death of his friend so enrages Achilles that he gives up his sulking in his tent and goes out to fight. He chases the entire Trojan army back behind the walls of Troy, with the exception of Hector, who decides to fight Achilles single-handedly. This is the climax of Homer's Iliad. Achilles kills Hector and drags his body around the city behind his chariot. Without Hector it seems obvious that the Trojans are now destined to lose the long war. There is a great feeling of gloom and foreboding among the Trojans at the end of the Iliad.

 

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