Discuss symbolism and its effectiveness in the Iliad Essay

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Symbolism plays a crucial role in The Iliad. Take for instance when Achilles already knows why Apollo is angry, but decides the fact should be stated by someone other than himself. He knows that Agamemnon will become angry once the truth is revealed. I believe that in this instance he is trying to keep his rage in check by avoiding a direct confrontation with Agamemnon so although the symbolism of anger is present it is kept under wraps. Calchas also fears for his life because he also knows Agamemnons fury is unyielding at times.

However, with a great deal of encouragement from Achilles, Calchas spoke out, bravely: Beware-The gods enraged because Agamemnon spurned his priest' (106). When the truth is exposed, Agamemnon becomes extremely angry and he and Achilles argue. The argument becomes so heated that Achilles is tempted to kill Agamemnon. Achilles questions himself, Should he draw the long sharp sword slung at his hip, thrust through the ranks and kill Agamemnon nowor check his rage and beat his fury down (108). Here, Hera has Athena intervene to keep Achilles from killing Agamemnon, which shows how the gods control Achilles destiny.

The argument between Achilles and Agamemnon clearly shows that the two men have different opinions about the power of the gods, what is holy or unholy, and what is proper treatment of other men. These differences are one source of Achilles rages likewise the issues pertaining to power and gods are being symbolised. Achilles is also angry at having to fight another mans battle. The Trojan War is being fought because Paris stole Helen, Agamemnons sister-in-law.

In his argument with Agamemnon, Achilles points out It wasnt Trojan spearmen who brought me here to fight. The Trojans never did me damage, not in the least (107). Achilles rage heightens in the argument and he declares No, you colossal, shamelesswe all followed you, to please you, to fight for you, to win your honor back from the Trojans”Menelaus and you, you dog-face! (108). Achilles is also angry because even though he and many other soldiers are there risking their lives for Agamemnon and Menelaus, Agamemnon is sly enough to avoid personal injury.

Achilles says to Agamemnon, Never once did you arm with the troops and go to battle or risk an ambush packed with Achaeas picked menyou lack the courage, you can see death coming (109). The Trojan War is being fought for personal reasons. Achilles rage at this point stems from the injustice that he is risking his life for someone elses cause and also for the fact that Agamemnon is a coward. The argument between Achilles and Agamemnon has deep-seeded roots of jealousy, another and symbol emotion that stirs anger.

Agamemnon knows that Achilles has the respect of the soldiers and the gods; therefore, Agamemnon is always striving to prove his superiority and powerfulness to Achilles. Agamemnon agrees to give Chryseis back to the priest, but then takes Brisies from Achilles. Achilles allows Agamemnons men to take Brisies without a fight in order to maintain the respect of the gods; however, after Brisies is taken, Achilles becomes so enraged and heartbroken that he reaffirms his declaration not to fight anymore.

Achilles declares that Agamemnon is to blame for the doom of the Achaean army if the day should come when the armies need me to save their ranks from ignominious, stark defeat (112). Jealousy, then, can be viewed as another source of Achilles rage. The issues being symbolised here are emotional and touching. Achilles is heartbroken and calls on his mother, the goddess Thetis. She is sorrowful when she hears Achilles prayers and weeping. Achilles knows that he is going live a short life and now feels that his life has no honor. He feels that the gods have forsaken him by allowing Agamemnon to humiliate him.

Achilles wants his mother to collect on an old debt from Zeus. Thetis is saddened by Achilles heartbreak and confirms his destiny, Doomed to a short life, you have so little time. And not only short, now, but filled with heartbreak too' (114). She leaves Achilles to go ask Zeus to let the Trojan army win as long as Achilles is not fighting. Achilles is left alone, his heart inflamed for the sashed and lovely girl theyd wrenched from him against his will (115). Achilles lost love and broken heart are another source of his rage. The effect is symbolism is tangible.

Rage is being symbolised through love and the impact leads to a broken heart. Achilles heart remains rigid against Agamemnon even when three of his dearest friends come and ask him to fight again. Phoenix, Ajax, and Odysseus plead with Achilles to join the battle again, but he refuses. The three make the argument that even if Achilles is angry with Agamemnon, he should still come back to the fighting to help his friends whose lives will be lost if he does not. Achilles dearest friend, Patroclus, decides to take Achilles armor and join the fighting.

Patroclus is wounded in battle and then is killed when Hector waiting, watching the great-hearted Patroclus trying to stagger free, came rushing into him right across the lines and rammed his spearshaft home. (159). It is Patroclus death that brings Achilles back to the war. Now his rage is aroused by his desire to obtain revenge against the Trojan army and, more specifically, Hector. Achilles armor is lost because Hector and the Trojans take it from Patroclus dead body. This action inspires Achilles to seek Thetis help again. She has Hephaestus make new armor for Achilles.

The new armor is magnificent. It is a great and massive shield, blazoning well-wrought emblems all across its surface (173). Thetis and other gods encourage Achilles to fight now. Apollo taunts Achilles while Hector holds fast outside the city gates. It is King Priam who first sees Achilles coming and is filled with fear for Hector. Achilles appears blazing like the star that rears at harvest, flaming up in its brilliance far outshining the countless stars in the night sky (177). Hector is filled with fear as Achilles approaches the city.

Achilles then chases Hector around the city three times. It is divine intervention by Athena that causes Hector to finally stop and face Achilles. Zeus decides who will die in the fight as he held out his sacred golden scales: in them he placed two fates of death that lays men low (181). The scales are tipped in Achilles favor and Hector looses his life. It is very clear that the gods control Achilles destiny and influence the factors that create his rage. Why is Achilles enraged? His rage is a personal choice. He decides to confront Agamemnon. He decides to withdraw from the war.

He decides to join the war after Patroclus death. However, the gods do their parts in making sure that his destiny is carried out. Thetis has new armor made for him and encourages him to fight. Apollo taunts him. Athena intervenes, first to make sure he does not kill Agamemnon and then later to make sure that he does kill Hector. Zeus weighs his fate. Rage is the spawn of many emotions. Injustice, jealousy, un-holiness, revenge, and heartbreak are emotions that sparked Achilles rage. Homers tale, the Iliad, shows how Achilles rage is his destiny.

Symbolism is very effective throughout the novel. It is linked to emotions, love and rage.

Works Cited Homer. The Iliad. The Norton Anthology World Masterpieces. Ed. Sarah Lawall. 7th ed. Vol. 1. W. W. Norton & Company. New York, London, 1999. 104-209. Spark Notes the Iliad by Homer Spark Notes edition January 10, 2002 The Norton Anthology of Western Literature, Volume 1 by Sarah Lawall Norton; 8 edition August 15, 2005 Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers by John Schilb Bedford/St. Martin; 3 edition October 25, 2005.

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