The Choice of an Ancient Wise Man, a Reflection on Plato's Apology of Socrates.
One of the greatest wise men of all times is Socrates. Socrates was put on trial for his beliefs and Plato puts his trial into words. In Plato's Apology of Socrates, Socrates stated that Achilles was the greatest hero and icon of honor. On the other hand, he scorns Odysseus. The choice of Socrates seems to be against rationale, seeing as he is a wise man and uses the mind more than the sword. However, when looking in detail at both men, Odysseus and Achilles, Achilles has much more in common with Socrates than one would expect. .
Achilles was the most gifted Achaean to grace the battlefield. He was born to a goddess mother and a mortal father, and after his mother submerged him in the river Styx, he was invulnerable, except for his ankle. The Iliad paints the picture of Achilles, a self-centered, yet honorable man. Achilles is controlled by his rage, yet he seems to know when and where to use it. After an argument with Agamemnon, Achilles withdraws from the Trojan War. Agamemnon realizes his mistake and sends some of Achilles" closest friends to try to convince him to rejoin the war. However, Achilles" strong will and arrogance wins out, even after hearing that the life of his compatriots depend on his decision. It is not until after his dearest friend is killed at the hand of Hector that Achilles decides that he will fight. Achilles knows that if he enters the war he is destined to die before it is over. He has known this for some time, and despite his mother's warning, he is determined to avenge his friend's death. Achilles feels that it is a matter of honor and he is not afraid of his destiny. He states:.
Let bygones be bygones. Done is done./ Despite my anguish, I will beat it down,/ the fury mounting inside me, down by force./ But now I"ll go and meet that murderer head on,/ that Hector who destroyed the dearest life I know.