|“||What has Hector ever done to me?||„|
|— Achilles to Agamemnon|
Achilles was a hero of the Trojan War and one of the greatest Greek warriors.
Achilles is known for his indomitable will and courage, prone to attack head on with a fierce, valiance, and fearless charge and confidence. He is born blessed by the gods (even after he is conceive in his mother's womb) as a form of gift to his parent's wedding. So much that Apollo refuse to strike him even after Achilles cut off his statue image, in honor of his parents. He is an honorable and noble fighter, despite his sometimes act of arrogance and confidence to his skills in combat and warfare, yet his skills in combat are nearly an rivalled by anyone during his time. He is highly respectful and honor's the people towards those who truly deserves and earn his respect like King Priam and prince Hector (despite his grudge against him). He is known by his fellow Myrmidons for his great and charismatic leadership, as he states that he considers them as brothers in the "sword" and would rather fight beside them than any army of thousands.
He is a good friend, wise adviser and mentor, but a worst enemy at best. Although not shown he shows a caring side towards the soldiers who follows Agamemnon's war in the Trojan War. But when angered or provoked enough, he can be very cold, ruthless, and having a sarcastic (almost sadistic) sense of wits and humor towards those he considers enemies, specially king Agamemnon (who he views as a foolish arrogant king of kings).
During Agamemnon's conquest to unite all of Greece and also during the Trojan War, Achilles have shown to become weary and self-absorbed in battles. Always showing a cold silence, calm, and level-headed composure when facing strong enemies, but prone to become arrogant and cocky towards he considers weak, worthless, wicked, or foolish to their words and actions. As it seen when he cut off the head of Apollo, from Apollo's temple, taunts prince Hector for mistaking his cousin as him, belittled and even warned king Agamemnon that before his time is done, he will watch his dead body and smile sadistically. Yet he still maintain his humble and respectful demeanor towards Hector, as he lets him go, but shown to be highly bitter and hate's Agamemnon's rules, as he claims that he does not view him as his king.
According to king Priam of Troy, he is just like his father before him, but (according to Priam's opinion) Achilles' father is lucky enough to does not see his son fall like a grim monster, something that he strangely acknowledge. He is shown to be remorseful to his wrong deeds in the past for killing many people in his eyes. On top of that, the only persons he truly respects (other than his parents) are Odysseus, Priam, and Hector.
When he fall in love to Briseis he is shown to be highly loving and protective to her. Showing that he is willing to kill for her sake and safety, she is the only one other than his mother than can calm and stop him through words, as it shown where they show an intimate love for each other.
Powers and Abilities
Birth and early years
Achilles was the son of the Nereid Thetis and of Peleus, the king of the Myrmidons/Phthia. Zeus and Poseidon had been rivals for the hand of Thetis until Prometheus, the fore-thinker, warned Zeus of a prophecy that Thetis would bear a son greater than his father. For this reason, the two gods withdrew their pursuit, and had her wed Peleus.
When Achilles was born, Thetis tried to make him immortal by dipping him in the river Styx; however, he was left vulnerable at the part of the body by which she held him: his left heel.
Peleus entrusted Achilles to Chiron the Centaur, on Mount Pelion, to be reared. Thetis foretold that her son's fate was either to gain glory and die young, or to live a long but uneventful life in obscurity. Achilles chose the former, and decided to take part in the Trojan war. Achilles grew up in Phthia together with his companion Patroclus.
Hidden on Skyros
In order to keep Achilles safe from the war, Thetis and Peleus hid the young man at the court of Lycomedes, king of Skyros. There, Achilles is disguised as a girl and lives among Lycomedes' daughters, perhaps under the name "Pyrrha". With Lycomedes' daughter Deidamia, Achilles there fathers a son, Neoptolemus. According to this story, Odysseus learns from the prophet Calchas that the Achaeans would be unable to capture Troy without Achilles' aid. Odysseus goes to Skyros in the guise of a peddler selling women's clothes and jewellery and places a shield and spear among his goods. When Achilles instantly takes up the spear, Odysseus sees through his disguise and convinces him to join the Greek campaign.
In the Trojan War
Achilles arrived at Troy with 50 ships, each carrying 50 Myrmidons. He appointed five leaders: Menesthius, Eudorus, Peisander, Phoenix, and Alcimedon.
It begins with Achilles' withdrawal from battle after being dishonoured by Agamemnon, the commander of the Achaean forces. Agamemnon has taken a woman named Chryseis as his slave. Her father Chryses, a priest of Apollo, begs Agamemnon to return her to him. Agamemnon refuses, and Apollo sends a plague amongst the Greeks. The prophet Calchas correctly determines the source of the troubles but will not speak unless Achilles vows to protect him. Achilles does so, and Calchas declares that Chryseis must be returned to her father.
Agamemnon consents, but then commands that Achilles' battle prize Briseis, the daughter of Briseus, be brought to him to replace Chryseis. Angry at the dishonour of having his plunder and glory taken away (and, as he says later, because he loves Briseis), with the urging of his mother Thetis, Achilles refuses to fight or lead his troops alongside the other Greek forces. At the same time, burning with rage over Agamemnon's theft, Achilles prays to Thetis to convince Zeus to help the Trojans gain ground in the war, so that he may regain his honour.
As the battle turns against the Greeks, thanks to the influence of Zeus, Nestor declares that the Trojans are winning because Agamemnon has angered Achilles, and urges the king to appease the warrior. Agamemnon agrees and sends Odysseus and two other chieftains, Ajax and Phoenix, to Achilles with the offer of the return of Briseis and other gifts. Achilles rejects all Agamemnon offers him and simply urges the Greeks to sail home as he was planning to do.
The Trojans, led by Hector, subsequently push the Greek army back toward the beaches and assault the Greek ships. With the Greek forces on the verge of absolute destruction, Patroclus leads the Myrmidons into battle, wearing Achilles' armour, though Achilles remains at his camp. Patroclus succeeds in pushing the Trojans back from the beaches, but is killed by Hector before he can lead a proper assault on the city of Troy.
After receiving the news of the death of Patroclus from Antilochus, the son of Nestor, Achilles grieves over his beloved companion's death. His mother Thetis comes to comfort the distraught Achilles. She persuades Hephaestus to make new armour for him, in place of the armour that Patroclus had been wearing, which was taken by Hector. The new armour includes the Shield of Achilles.
Enraged over the death of Patroclus, Achilles ends his refusal to fight and takes the field, killing many men in his rage but always seeking out Hector. Achilles even engages in battle with the river god Scamander, who has become angry that Achilles is choking his waters with all the men he has killed. The god tries to drown Achilles but is stopped by Hera and Hephaestus. Zeus himself takes note of Achilles' rage and sends the gods to restrain him so that he will not go on to sack Troy itself before the time allotted for its destruction, seeming to show that the unhindered rage of Achilles can defy fate itself.
Finally, Achilles finds his prey. Achilles chases Hector around the wall of Troy three times before Athena, in the form of Hector's favorite and dearest brother, Deiphobus, persuades Hector to stop running and fight Achilles face to face. After Hector realizes the trick, he knows the battle is inevitable. Wanting to go down fighting, he charges at Achilles with his only weapon, his sword, but misses. Accepting his fate, Hector begs Achilles, not to spare his life, but to treat his body with respect after killing him. Achilles tells Hector it is hopeless to expect that of him, declaring that "my rage, my fury would drive me now to hack your flesh away and eat you raw – such agonies you have caused me". Achilles then kills Hector and drags his corpse by its heels behind his chariot. After having a dream where Patroclus begs Achilles to hold his funeral, Achilles hosts a series of funeral games in his honour.
With the assistance of the god Hermes, Hector's father Priam goes to Achilles' tent to plead with Achilles for the return of Hector's body so that he can be buried. Achilles relents and promises a truce for the duration of the funeral, lasting 9 days with a burial on the 10th (in the tradition of Niobe's offspring).
As predicted by Hector with his dying breath, the hero's death was brought about by Paris with an arrow to the heel, guided by the god Apollo. Achilles was scaling the gates of Troy at the time and was hit by the poisoned arrow. His bones were mingled with those of Patroclus, and funeral games were held.
Myths and Legends
The Achilles heel is now known as a weakness in spite of overall strength, which can lead to downfall. While the mythological origin refers to a physical vulnerability, idiomatic references to other attributes or qualities that can lead to downfall are common.
|“||My rage, my fury, would drive me now to hack your flesh away and eat you raw – such agonies you have caused me||„|
|— Achilles to Hector.|