The Iliad, a book by Homer about the Trojan War, focuses a lot on Achilles and his internal struggle with his personal desires. In the time of the Trojan War, there was an unspoken code of morals and how warriors of honor should follow. If they did not fight or acted cowardly it not only brought them shame but their family name was looked down on. Warriors that were defeated werent always killed because they were sometimes taken prisoner to be used for ransom money or gifts. However, in the Iliad, Homer shows that sympathy rarely is evident in war.
Achilles stubborn and cowardly sides are shown when Ajax, Phoenix, and Odysseus travel to visit him and beg him to return to the fight. Instead of acting like an honorable warrior, he refuses after listening them plead for his help in the fight. He said that he would not return until his own Greek warriors ships were on fire from Trojan flames.
Achilles rage and childishness is revealed when he learns of his friend, and father figures death, and becomes not only enraged but cries like a child. Children, when they get angry because of something that someone did to them, their first thoughts of what they can do to get back at them, to make things even. This is what Achilles does. When Hector killed Patroclus he also took the armor that Patroclus was wearing which belonged to Achilles. This is the point at which Achilles values show because this when he decides to return to the fight, to avenge his friends death.
As part of his revenge Achilles kills every Trojan he sees without mercy to get to Hector. He forces the Trojans to retreat all the way into their own walled city. This is where Achilles and Hector meet to avenge Patroclus death.
Hector is beat by Achilles and asks him for mercy in his death. Achilles refuses, also being consumed by his ego he doesnt act as the better person despite what his previous experiences have taught him about how to act. So he tortures Hector before killing him and did the same to his body as Hector did to Patroclus. Achilles drags Hectors body all the way around Troy three times tied to the back of his chariot.
At the very end Achilles for the first time in the story shows that he can be non-egoistic and can be compassionate. The Greeks finish their mourning for Patroclus and about burn the body of Hector. But, Zeus decides that Priam, Hectors father, will be allowed to have Hector’s body. So Priam goes and begs to Achilles for Hector’s body back. Achilles actually weeps with Priam and allows him to take the body without asking for ransom money. The unbelievable part is that Achilles wants a truce with Priam so that Priam can properly mourn his sons death. By giving Hector a proper burial it returned some respect to his name and let his family have some peace.
Achilles goes from an egoistic man to a compassionate warrior in the very end. Though The Illiad isnt just about Achilles and his growth as a person, it is a part of what is used to parallel to make this story what it is, about love, courage, war, and honor above all.