Achilleus leader of the Achaians and son of Peleus a mortal king and The sea-goddess Thetis is an important character of the Iliad. Achilleus is a well-respected warrior; the Achaians needed Achilleus to help them fight the Trojans. In book XXII Achilleus showed that he was heartless when he killed Hektor. Achilleus also showed that he was sympathetic towards elders by returning Hektors body when Priam begged for it. In Homers Iliad Achilleus was portrayed as a well-respected warrior, heartless, and sympathetic towards elders.
In book I of the Iliad Achilleus first shows that he is well respected when he calls the Achaians to assembly, an idea from the goddess Hera who had pity on the dying Achaians. Achilleus a leader even before his time of greatness spoke up for his people against the son of Atreus saying “I believe now that straggling backwards we must make our way home if we can even escape death, if fighting now must crush the Achaians and the plague likewise”(1. 59-61). Agamemnon who claims himself as the far greatest of all the Achaians shows fear to Achilleus by calling him a “good fighter though you be, godlike “(1. 27).
By defeating Agamemnon Achilleus proves to be the greatest Achaian soldier and the most respected because he stood up to Agamemnon the “wine sack, with a dogs eyes, and deer’s heart; the King who feeds on his people”(1. 221-227). After the death of Patrokolos Achilleus returns to avenge his friends death in book XXII. The love Achilleus showed Patrokolos was not worth taking every soldiers life in the Trojan army except one man (Hektor) who thought that “it would be much better at that time, to go against Achilleus, and slay him, and come back, or else be killed by him in glory in front of the city”(22. 1-13).
Hektor would be killed by Achilleus after being tricked by Athene who pretended to be his (Hektors) brother Deiphobos. Hektor tried to plead with Achilleus on his death day so that he can be buried respectfully and so that his soul could rest. But Achilleus response to Hektor was “argue me no arguments. I cannot forgive you. As there are no trustworthy oaths between men and lions, nor wolves and lambs”(22. 164-166). Achilleus not only killed Hektor but he stripped him of his clothing and let every Achaian soldier stab him while he gave a speech aying “there is a dead man who lies by the ships, unwept, unburied”(22. 89).
Achilleus went back to the ships of the Achaians singing “we have won ourselves enormous fame; we have killed the great Hektor whom the Trojans glorified as if he were a god in their city”(22. 296-298). While he (Achilleus) spoke he thought of shameful treatment for Hektor. Achilleus made holes in the back of Hektors feet by the tendons, and in the space between the ankle and the heel he drew thongs of ox-hide threw them, and fastened his feet to a chariot and dragged him on the back of it. By doing this Hektors hair fell out and what was once a beautiful body was now tumbled in the dust.
Achilleus showed no respect for Hektor and he had a great deal of hate toward Hektor but by killing him and then battering the body that shows how heartless he was toward his enemies. In book XXIV Achilleus meets with Hektors father Priam who wants Achilleus to return his sons body to him so that he can have a proper burial and that his soul can rest peacefully. Priam who goes into the city where the Achaians stay and gets down on his knees and kisses the hands that murdered his son and begs Achilleus to return Hektor to him.
Priam spoke to Achilleus saying, “Achilleus like the gods, remember your father, one who is of years like mine, and on the door-sill of sorrowful old age. And they who swell nearby encompass him and afflict him, nor is there any to defend him against the wrath, the destruction”(24. 95-98). Priam reminds Achilleus of his father and that his father can call on him when he wants. Priam also reminds Achilleus that he has taken the lives of all of his sons. Achilleus makes a statement to Priam saying “I sit here in Troy, and bring nothing but sorrow to you and your children”(24. 151).
Achilleus and Priam both breakdown and cry at their misfortunes, and Achilleus agrees to give Hektor back to Priam so that he can have a proper burial. In the Iliad Achilleus shows three sides of his personality a great leader towards his people, a brutal killer, and a grieving soldier. There are numerous quotes and statements that prove this to be true. Also Achilleus is passionate and heartbroken towards the death of Patrokolos. In Homers Iliad Achilleus portrays to be well-respected, heartless, and sympathetic towards elders. The son of Peleus and Thetis proves to be all of these things in many different books of the Iliad.