"Achilles Absent Was Achilles Still"

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Context: The event which finally arouses the great warrior Achilles from his anger over King Agamemnon's appropriating the captive maiden Briseis is the death of Patroclus, who goes into battle with Achilles' famed armor and is killed by Hector. To avenge his friend, Achilles has a new suit of armor made by Hephaestus, the blacksmith of the gods, and confronts Hector, who is wearing Achilles' old armor stripped from Patroclus. All other Trojans flee in terror at the sight of the wrathful hero of the Greeks, but Hector stands his ground, believing that Athene will help him. Although Hector tries to exact a promise that his body will be treated with respect, Achilles angrily refuses and kills the Trojan hero by stabbing him in the neck. His speech of exultation contains these famous words:

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"At last is Hector stretch'd upon the plain,Who fear'd no vengeance for Patroclus slain:Then, prince! you should have fear'd, what now you feel;Achilles absent was Achilles still:Yet a short space the great avenger stayed,Then low in dust thy strength and glory laid. . . ."

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