Homer's Iliad opens with thematic lines:
Anger be now my song, immortal one,
Akhileus' anger, doomed and ruinous,
That causes the Akhaians loss on bitter loss
And crowded brave souls into the undergloom,
Leaving so many dead men—carriot
For dogs and birds; and the will of Zeus was done.
These opening lines speak not of any anger Achilles felt at the outset of the Trojan War but of the fierce anger he displays when his beloved friend and companion Patroclus dies. Achilles reluctantly allowed Patroclus to return to battle wearing Achilles's armor, with a strict command not to pursue the Trojans but to only beat them back a leader of the Myrmidons.
Patroclus ignores Achilles instructions and follows Hector as the Greeks beat the Trojans back. Hector, thinking he was encountering Achilles, ends up killing Patroclus. When he discovers he has killed the wrong man, Hector seems to glory over Achilles, suggesting that Achilles was not powerful enough to protect Patroclus (Book 16).
Achilles's grief at...
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