Why Does Achilles Refuse To Fight

Why does Achilles refuse to fight for the Greeks when Agamemnon takes Briseis? Is it love of Briseis? Honor? Pride? 

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bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Achilles is a Greek hero, and this means he has character flaws. Achilles is enraged when Agamemnon takes Briseis, and this action threatens his pride. Achilles is egotistical and craves glory and fame. He would rather see the Greeks lose than allow Agamemnon to insult him, and this is Achilles' major flaw that eventually leads to his downfall.  When Patroclus dies, Achilles goes back to the war and uses his hatred of Agamemnon against Hector. He desecrates Hector's body after death and shows no mercy against his enemies. A good leader would always consider his men before himself, but Achilles' pride doesn't allow him to be this kind of leader.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is in my opinion definitely pride that makes Achilles refuse to fight when Briseis is taken.

First of all, there is not really so much of a tradition of romantic love back in those days in Greece.  I do not really think that Achilles would have fallen in love with Briseis.  This is even more so since she was just a prize of war.

Second, I think that one major theme of Homer's works is that honor was everything for a Greek warrior in these times.  Achilles, seeing himself as the greatest warrior, would surely have felt his honor was being slighted when his prize was taken.

pinkytune123 | Student

Achilles mainly flew into a fury because of his honour. 

  • Achilles was a Greek hero and the most powerful warrior and so he had his reputations. So, when Agamemnon decided to take Briseis, his honour was slaughtered. Agamemnon ruins his dignity and thatswhy Achilles becomes furiously enraged.
  • Briseis was Achilles's war-prize but, after Briseis is carried off to Agamemnon's castle she feels upset. Because of the fact, they two are suspected of loving each other and if it is so, then that might be a reason.
katiejov | Student

good answer

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