achilles honor

InThe Iliad, warriors from the Achaean and Trojan armies show plenty of noble traits; the warrior that shows the most noble traits is the great Achaean warrior, Achilles. Despite the fact that Hector killed Achilles’s prodigy, and close friend, Patroclus he found pity for Troy’s King, Priam. The release of Hector’s body to Priam was an Noble act by Achilles. Achilles respected Troy’s burial traditions for a prince and held back the Achaean army for twelve days. Achilles knew that if Agamemnon found out that Priam was in the Greek camp, Priam’s life would be endangered, and the release of Hector’s body would be delayed.

Priam visited Achilles hut in the Greek camp unnoticed to ask Achilles to pity him because a father with no hope left lost his last, and greatest son. Achilles is asked by Priam to think about his own father, “Remember your father, godlike Achilles. He and I both are on the doorstep of old age. He may well be now surrounded by enemies wearing him down and have no one to protect him from harm” (520-524). Priam tells Achilles that one day his father might learn Achilles is alive and have hope that he will be saved and protected.

Priam will never have that feeling ever again because his last son is dead. Achilles pities Priam and arranges for Hector’s body to be cleaned and released. Achilles will allow Priam to give Hector the proper burial even though they are are war with one another. Achilles ask, “How many days do you need for the funeral? I will wait and hold back the army” (707-708). Priam said the city needs twelve days. Troy will morn and collect supplies for the ceremony for nine days. On the tenth day, they will lay Hector’s body to rest.

On the eleventh day, they will lay a barrow over him and on the twelfth day they will fight if they must. Achilles honors the rituals of a Trojan Prince’s burial. Achilles took responsibility to Priam’s safety while he was visiting the Greek camp. He had his servants make a bed behind his hut, because the Achaean commanders might come into his hut in the morning to talk. If the commanders saw Priam they would go alert Agamemnon. Priam’s safety would be put in jeopardy and the release of Hector’s body would be delayed. Achilles noble acts are showed through respect and honor.

He released Hector’s body to Priam even though they were enemies. He knows it would be disrespectful to give Priam Hector’s body in the condition it is in, so he orders his servants to clean the body, oil it, and wrap it for a proper burial. Achilles honors Hector’s public status as a Prince and let’s the Trojan’s give a proper burial. It would have been easy for Achilles to tell Priam to get out of his sight or kill him in his hut, but he didn’t let his emotions about Patroclus get to him. It takes a lot of courage for a person to forget about the past and show acts of nobility.

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