The Iliad is an epic poem, with characters filled with uncontrollable passion.

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The Iliad is an epic poem, with characters filled with uncontrollable passion. In all cases, the uncontrollable passion is a vice as it is evident in the poem. Achilles is the main character in the epic and to whim rage and pride has taken control over him. Achilles is just a representative of the other similar characters with the same uncontrollable passion, for example, Agamemnon cannot control his pride, Paris is unable to control his lust and Hector is unable to control his vainglory.

From the beginning of the poem, Achilles anger and pride is evident as his pride is hurt by King Agamemnon who is the leader of the army and due to this, Achilles pulls out of the war due to pride. His withdrawal, however, brings a lot of consequences as he slaughters Hector after the death of Patroclus. Due to his anger, Achilles is responsible for the death of both Hector and Patroclus and understands that it is his anger that has resulted in the killings. He says, “My friend is dead, Patroclus, my dear friend of all. I loved him, and I killed him” (Book 18, lines 84-86).

Agamemnon and Achilles are led by pride, and due to this, their uncontrollable passion becomes a vice. Achilles withdraws from the war because his pride has been hurt by Agamemnon, the war leader, and due to this, he withdraws from the war along with his army, making the Greek army weaker. Achilles does not only decide to withdraw from the war weakening the Greek army, but he as well prays to the gods to punish the Greek with a disaster. Achilles asks his mother, the goddess of Thetis to ask Zeus help the Trojans and not his army in book one. Achilles says, “Bid him give succour to the Trojans. Let the Achaeans be hemmed in at the sterns of their ships, and perish on the sea-shore, that they may reap what joy they may of their king, and that Agamemnon may rue his blindness in offering insult to the foremost of the Achaeans.” It is not that Achilles is asking the gods to help the Trojans because he is angry with his fellow warriors but because he bears a grudge with Agamemnon, their leader and that’s why he wants him to suffer. Achilles pride is an indication that the Greek army is no better without him, and therefore his uncontrollable passion can be termed as a vice.


Weil, S. (1945). The Iliad, Or, The Poem of Force (pp. 1-38). Politics.