Achilles

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Achilles (right) binds Patroclus's wounds

Achilles (Ancient Greek: Ἀχιλλεύς, Akhilleus) was a hero of the Trojan War and the central character of Homer's Iliad. He was the son of the mortal hero Peleus and the Nereid Thetis, described as the greatest of the Achaean warriors. The leader of the Myrmidons, Achilles is one of many central figures of the Iliad, which starts with the quarrel between him and Agamemnon, the commander of the Greek forces.[1]

Achilles' most notable feat during the Trojan War was his' slaying the Trojan prince Hector outside the gates of Troy, as revenge against Hector for killing his companion Patroclus. While Achilles' death is not presented in the Iliad (as the poem ends with Hector's funeral), other sources concur that he was killed near the end of the war by Paris, who shot him in the heel with an arrow. Later stories depict Achilles as being invulnerable in all of his body except for his heel, as that is where his mother Thetis held him when she dipped him in the River Styx as an infant. As such, the term "Achilles' heel" has come to mean a point of fatal weakness.

Legend[change | change source]

Achilles could not be hurt. In some versions of the myths, Thetis, his mother, dipped him into the river Styx, holding the baby by his right heel. Because of that, his heel was still vulnerable. However, the Iliad does not say this.

According to the legend, Achilles was killed by Paris, who shot his heel with a poisoned arrow. He was very angry. He cursed at Paris but Paris fled. Achilles was alive over 2000 years ago. Achilles was born to defeat the Trojans. Achilles was shot many times by the arrows of Paris' but the only arrow found on his body was through his heel.

References[change | change source]

  1. Fagles, Robert (transl) 1990. The Iliad. Introduction and notes by Bernard Knox. Penguin: Book One: 'The rage of Achilles'. ISBN 0-14-027536-3