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Carson Bashford

October 19, 2015


Professor Kiesel
Heritage I: Argument and Paper 1
Grief and anger are two of the more prominent feelings that Homer depicts in The Iliad.
In a poem about war, it is only fitting that one of the main emotions is anger due to the constant
violence, but grief is an emotion that is often linked with anger in more ways than one. Grief, in
The Iliad, is just as powerful as anger because it causes people to do crazy and irrational things.
The Iliad supports the idea that the link between grief and anger causes people to do
irrational things in many ways. One of the ways this is showed is how Achilles acts after he kills
Hector. Killing Hector was not good enough for Achilles, he needed parade around showing
everyone what he was capable of doing in the most gruesome way, He pierced the tendons of
both feet from behind, from the heel to the ankle, and made fast ox-hide things, which he tied to
the back of his chariot. He let Hectors head drag on the ground. Then he mounted his chariot
and loaded the famous armor. He snapped the whip and drove away, and his two horses gladly
sped onward (22.380). Up until this point, Achilles refused to take part in the war he deemed
pointless. It took a huge motivator for Achilles to want to return to the war; his motivator was the
death of Petroklos. The grief he felt for his friend quickly turned into rage for his killer. Those
feelings took over, and his natural instinct was to kill like the great warrior he is. Out of all the
things he could have done, Achilles decided to return to his old habits and do what he was
notorious for. All his emotions caused him to think impulsively and act in a crazy way.

Most of the fighting in the poem is induced by revenge. The best example of this idea, is
when Achilles seeks revenge on Hector for killing Petroklos. As soon as he hears of Petroklos
death, his anger causes him to immediately decide that Hector must pay for what he did, We
must overcome the spirit in our own breasts. We have to! And now I will go out to find the killer
of the man I lovedHector (18. 105). Achilles describing how he and his men must overcome
whatever sorrows or struggles they may face in their hearts, in order to win the war or to avenge
loved ones deaths, like in the case of Achilles. Later on, readers witness the gruesome death he
scene of Hector while the grief stricken Achilles finally gets his revenge. Hectors death is so
gruesome because Achilles channels all his anger into defeating the enemy who killed his friend.
There was no stopping the great warrior Hector until the job was done. Although Achilles sole
purpose was to kill Hector in honor of Petroklos, after Hectors death Achilles still feels the same
grief he initially felt. Grief is such a strong emotion that not only does it linger but it causes
people to act in vicious ways, as Achilles did in the killing of Hector.
Before his death, Hector also sought revenge due to the grief he felt for someone close to
him. Hectors ultimate death was a sequence of events that began with Petroklos. When
Petroklos was in Achilles armor killing anyone he set eyes on, he killed a chariot driver named
Kebriones. Little did Petroklos know that the driver worked for Hector who witnessed the death
firsthand, And against him Hector leaped to the ground from his carHector took hold of the
head of the corpse and would not let go (16. 755). By stating that Hector would not let go of the
corpse implies his sadness of a life ended, specifically a life so close to him. This grief quickly
turned into anger which leads Hector to kill Petroklos who is then killed by Achilles. In this
situation, revenge was induced by grief which signifies how grief and anger are synonymous.

Grief is not only exhibited on the battlefield, but it is shown on the sidelines as well. For
example, Andromache experiences an immense amount of grief as she begs Hector not to go into
battle in book 5, My darling, your strength will destroy you, nor do you take pity on your
speechless babe and luckless me, who will soon be a widow. For quickly the Acheans will rush
upon you and kill you. For me it would be better to go under the earth if I lose you (5. 406). She
grieves for Hectors inevitable death, stating that she knows the Acheans will ultimately kill him
and that she would rather go down to the underworld with him than live a life without her
husband. Although Hector reassures her that it is not his time to die, Andromaches intuition tells
her otherwise. Her grief is not only for the loss of her husband, but for her sons doomed fate.
Andromache not only feels grief but she also feels anger for the man who killed her love. This
reinforces the idea that grief and anger are linked together even though the readers do not see any
direct irrationality coming from Andromache.
Some might say that anger is stronger than grief. Although anger does have a more
powerful connotation, grief is not something one shake off as easily as one can with anger. Most
of the time anger occurs when a conflict arises, but once that conflict is resolved anger goes out
the door. Unlike anger, grief does not have the ability to leave as easily. For example, when a
loved one dies, much like Petroklos to Achilles, there is nothing that can resolve that issue or
bring the person back to life. Therefore, grief is almost always linked with anger because the two
feed off each other. Moments in The Iliad support the theory that grief and anger are the same
because it causes people to be irrational on numerous occasions. Grief lead to fighting and
revenge both on and off the battlefield showing the wide range effect it has. Its possible that
there is a way grief can be settled without anger, but the characters in The Iliad were not
fortunate enough to experience this idea.