Achilles and His Role in the Trojan War

Published: 2021-07-30 21:45:09
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Considered as a hero of all time, Achilles is one of the great warriors of Greek mythology who remains to be recollected because of his significant role in the Trojan War. Born to Peleus, his father and the mortal king of the Myrmidons and The Thetis, his mother a Nereid, Achilles grew to become a loyal, courageous and extraordinary strong individual who would later become so recognized and feared by both his friends and foes alike (Schein, 1984). As such, he is remembered not only because of his immortality status as a warrior but also as one of the few men on the battled filed who was remarkably skilled and fearless. In this regard, Achilles’ heroism status can be drawn from not only his distinguished great strength as a prominent warrior but also from his outstanding achievements (noble qualities), fearlessness in times of adversity and his honorable attitude to those that he loved and cared for.

Having regard to that, the story of Achilles and him as a hero dates back to his early life, when he was still a baby, after his mother Thetis, out of extraordinary concern about his mortality, decided to have him converted immortal. In order to make this a success Achilles mother had him dunked into River Styx, a water body whose waters were said to grant someone the invulnerability of the gods (Taplin, 1980). However despite the fact that Achilles got dipped into the waters not all parts of his body acquired this immortality, strength and resilience statuses that they were supposed to. This is because when he was being dipped into the water his mother tightly held him by the heel, so tightly in such a manner that this is the only part of the body which did not attain the desired trait. And this would later become the major weakness that the warrior had as lack of not having the whole body dipped, made his heel vulnerable- a major weakness that his mother had no idea about.
But then, because of how dedicated she was to have her son significantly protected from death and harm, Thetis asked the divine blacksmith of the time to make a shield and sword for Achilles in the quest of having her son’s life protected. To this end, the armor that the divine blacksmith made did not make Achilles immortal but it is the waters that did. Nonetheless, the produced armor made him distinctive enough to be identified by both his colleagues and enemies alike. With all this, Achilles grew to become a heroic warrior whose role as an eminent warrior in the Trojan War cannot be overemphasized.

Firstly, Achilles was a hero because of his fearlessness in times of adversity. It is a clear fact that, after the death of Patroclus – his closet friend and colleague in the Greek forces – in the battle at the hands of Troy’s best warrior and older brother to Troy’s prince Paris, Hector for being dressed up as Achilles in his armor; Achilles violent and uncontrollable anger turned him into a vengeful being who became so ready to honor Patroclus by taking it head-on with his killer, Hector. In a quest to honor his friend and supporter, Achilles courageously ambushed Hector and had him killed. As such, the heroic aspect of Achilles can be drawn from the fact that he (Achilles) knew that in those early times, a real hero was one who would take revenge on the death of his friend by sacrificing his own life to ensure that his friend/ loved ones got some form of “justice.” The best way to do this was by putting one’s life on the line and have the killers of his loved ones subjected to the same form of suffering and have them face the same fate as that which his loved ones faced and this was through death.
Equally, Achilles was a hero because of his honorable attitude to those that he loved and cared for. From Homer’s Iliad, it is clear that during the battle of Troy, Achilles had his own lover; a beautiful woman who he also considered his own prize identified by the name Briseis. In that way, his heroism virtue can be drawn from the kind of reaction that he had after Agamemnon, his master and adversary, demanded to have Briseis taken back alongside his own salve girl Chryses to Chryses father, priest of Apollo after a plague had befallen the Greeks (Edwards, 1987). Angered and felt dishonored by the actions of his boss, Achilles decided to withdraw from the battle despite being aware that he played a key role in the Greek force. Having regard to this, indeed Achilles is a hero by the fact that he stood his ground and decide to choose the woman he loved over the victory of the Trojan War. Although this did not change Agamemnon’s actions, Achilles decided to skip duty simply because the love of his life and own prize had been taken off him. Hence, having him withdraw from the force was a heroic move considering that it portrayed his unique attitude to those that he loved and cared for.

In addition to that, Achilles was a hero because of his outstanding achievements (noble qualities). In the whole Greek mythology, there was no superior and courageous warrior like Achilles. Having been made less vulnerable to death, Achilles was also one selfless warrior who took it to the war to settle some scores with the Trojans. Actively taking part in the force, Achilles would later come to be identified as one of the key warriors in the Greek forces and it was only through his help that the Greek forces would emerge victorious in the Trojan War. With this, Achilles was not only a war motivator of the Greek forces but also a man with astounding capability who won a lot of battles that his side faced. In this regard, he was a heroic figure who played a fundamental role in the Trojan War taking into consideration of the fact that at the heart of most victories was Achilles the Greek warrior.

Having said that, not everyone agrees with the fact that Achilles was a hero. Opponents of the above premise contend that Achilles was not a hero simply because he made very mistakes that should not be given more precisely by a man who was in the front. One of the mistakes is being in love with a Trojan woman when he and others were taking on the Trojans. To this end, despite the fact that the above reason is valid it is right and just to assert that the opponents overlook Achilles emotion as being that of a typical human being. Basically, Achilles was just like any typical human being, he had the right to fall in love with any other person; Achilles being in love with a Trojan woman is itself a liberal move which any soldier in a combat role can assume. And by the fact that the woman did not leak any secrets about the Greek Forces to the Trojans itself makes sufficient my argument.

To conclude Achilles was a Greek soldier and hero who played a vitally important role during the Trojan War. Despite the fact that his invulnerability wouldn’t sustain him to the end of the war, Achilles was a great hero who stands to be recollected as a powerful warrior for the Greeks, an immortal warrior with great skills, as well as a man who loved and took care of his associates. It is with all this that he stands to be counted as one of the great men in Greek Mythology.

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