Achilles' Hero Behavior Cycle In The Iliad

1087 words - 5 pages

The Ancient Greeks admired their heroes and tried to learn from both their achievements and their mistakes. They believed that most great leaders and warriors followed a predictable behavior cycle, which often ended tragically. In Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad, Achilles is a great warrior who traces the stages of the behavior cycle twice, from arete to hubris to ate and then to nemesis. Achilles is a highly skilled warrior and a great leader who becomes a narcissist and an arrogant person, which leads to selfish and childish behavior resulting in the death of his best friend. Following Patroclus’ death, Achilles repeats the behavior cycle by regaining his courage and motivation, and goes back ...view middle of the document...

May such anger, which upsets the wisest, no longer affect the deathless gods and mortal men!” (145). All of these great qualities Achilles possesses both start two different behavior cycles that start at different times in the epic poem.
The great talents that Achilles’ possesses cause him to become much admired and well known by both the Greeks and the Trojans. He begins to believe all the good things people are say and becomes an arrogant, child-like, selfish person which all mark Achilles’ hubris part of his behavior cycle. Achilles shows his arrogance when he gets angry with Agamemnon for him wanting take his prize of honor, which Achilles worked very hard to get. Because of this, Achilles begins to lose his capability to think straight and weigh all the factors in situations, and withdraws himself from the battle. Later on after Achilles overcomes the death of his best friend and regains back his courage and pride, Achilles kills Hector and thinks he is invincible for doing the great deed he did. Achilles fought Hector for honor over all else and performed the death of Hector almost as a duty and feels proud of himself for doing so. Before he kills Hector, Achilles declares, “I will go forth to slay Hector, who killed the man the I loved… Until then, may I win great fame and glory, and may every Trojan realize that the greatest of the Greeks no longer remains apart from battle”(145). This part of the behavior cycle clearly foreshadows what might happen in the next stages of the behavior cycle.
In the behavior cycle, hubris always leads to a foolish decision, ate. Achilles goes through this part of the cycle by allowing Patroclus, a good friend of Achilles’, wear his armor and lead the Greeks into battle. This was a very foolish mistake because Hector thinks he is ‘the equal’ to Achilles and will try to fight him, which might lead him towards winning the Trojan War if they try to fight. Achilles should have known that Patroclus would have been the main target for Hector, and should have said no, and not put his best friend in such a dangerous situation like this. The second...

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