One of the main elements of the Iliad is the rage of Achilles. Throughout the book, readers see the rise, climax, and fall of the rage. The Iliad is a narrative story of the last year or so of the Trojan War, which is written by the well-known poet Homer. This war was fought between the Greeks and the Trojans over ten years. While the war seems to be the main story line, the story of Achilles is the driving force during this poem. There are many important factors that affected Achilles and his anger that would pursue in the Iliad. This paper will discuss not only the pure rage of Achilles but also the contributing influences. .
One key factor in understanding rage in the Iliad, is considering the definition of rage from the Greek language. Rage is referred to in Greek as menis. Menis means a supernatural and/or enduring rage. The Webster's Dictionary defines rage as violent anger, to be violently angry, or to proceed or prevail with violence. .
Another part of understanding Achilles and his rage is to have a grasp of what Greek society held as important. One key part of their society was honor, especially honor in battle. All of the men in the Iliad held personal honor as one of the most important parts of life, almost the pinnacle of being a man. To have one's honor questioned is to not only insult him but also humiliate. Throughout the Iliad there are examples of how honor affects relationships and actions, and also how those actions and relationships affect one's honor. In the beginning of the Iliad when Agamemnon takes Achilles" prize that was given to Achilles by the Greeks. This begins the anger that is building up inside of Achilles. He soon decides just not to participate in the war at all. Many of the other leaders ask him to come back. Agamemnon even offers Achilles a ransom so he will return. However, Achilles does not want to come back. He then tells all of the mediators that it was not just about a girl, that this whole problem was a matter of honor.