The Iliad, at first glance, appears to be a story about a bloodthirsty war. Although when read more closely, it becomes evident that the author, Homer, is deriving an epic whose subject is rage and whose victim is Achilles. On the surface the story reads about death, love, violence, and fate. But in deepness, it's a warning to heed the consequences of stubbornness and wrath.
Anger and frustration hold the seeds of passion, and passion drives men to fight. But what are they fighting for? This is the plight of Homer's passionate hero. Achilles is by no means a character anyone would want to identify with - for no reason should he be admired in any way. He's a sulker who brings great anguish to his closest people because his "prize" is taken from him. This is Homer's so-called hero? If the definition of heroism were in question, the answer would be debatable. However, it's not - there's much more at stake here.
What is the rage of Achilles? His rage is a conflict of almost a dual personality. His sensitive or emotional self constantly gets him in trouble. His proud side - a strong belief about how people perceive him, continually drives him mad. Essentially sensitivity forces Achilles to wallow in self-pity and get carried away with this perception of self. Simply put, he's unhappy with the man he sees in himself and this frustration drives him to rage. Achilles is a victim of his own madness. Agamemnon is undoubtedly the catalyst to this reaction. What Agamemnon does tears Achilles from the inside out, sparking rage in Achilles and forcing out the passion to stubbornly defend what he perceives to be his own pride and honor. Rage sets the tone for the saga being told, and with rage is where the story begins.
1. "Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus" son Achilleus .
and its devastation, which put pains thousandfold upon the Achaians, .
hurled in their multitudes to the house of Hades strong souls .
of heroes, but gave their bodies to be the delicate feasting .