The Iliad Essay, Research Paper
Patroclus is the aid to Achilles and his closest confidant. He is an excellent complement to Achilles. They hold dear the same principles and possess the same attributes. Although Achilles? skills are greater, Patroclus is a much greater hero and man than Achilles is.
Patroclus? moral character is very high. He stands up for what is right, and denounces the selfish actions of his friend. Achilles is the greatest warrior and Patroclus? best friend, but Patroclus has no reservations about pointing out Achilles mistakes. He is the only one who doesn?t fear the rage of Achilles. ?But you are intractable, Achilles!/ Pray god such anger never seizes me, such rage you nurse./ Cursed in your own courage! What good will a man,/ even one in the next generation, get from you/ unless you defend the Argives from disaster?/ You heart of iron!? (16:32-37). Patroclus wants to fight and save his fellow Argives. He grieves for his injured and fallen comrades. Achilles doesn?t weep for his countryman the way Patroclus does. ?Or weeping over the Argives, are you? Seeing them die/ against the hollow ships, repaid for their offenses?? (16:18-19). Achilles still holds the notion that the Greeks must pay for the offense they caused him.
Patroclus is a loyal friend to the glory hungry Achilles. He is similar to Banquo fighting with Macbeth. Banquo was always overshadowed in battle next to Macbeth. Achilles allows Patroclus to fight as long as he does not steal away any of Achilles? glory. ?Once you have whipped the enemy from the fleet/ you must come back, Patroclus. Even if Zeus/ the thundering lord of Hera lets you seize your glory,/ you must not burn for war against these Trojans,/ madmen lusting for battle-not without me-/you will only make my glory that much less? (16:101-106). Achilles cares for his friend, but doesn?t want him to receive his glory. Achilles only wants the Trojans away from his ships. Achilles feels if anyone is to sack Troy, it must be him.
The tide of the battle is turned more by Patroclus, than by Achilles. Patroclus is definitely the biggest indirect cause of the Greek victory. His death sends the self involved Achilles into his great rampage. The loss of his noble friend angers him so much, he decides to exact revenge, and win the war. Achilles was ready to leave his friends on the field to die. ?No, you must turn back-/ soon as you bring light of victory to the ships./ Let the rest of them cut themselves to pieces on the plain!? (16:112-114). Achilles is the most powerful warrior on Earth, but he refuses to fight. If he had fought his friends would not experience the hardships they faced. When Achilles had fought before the Greeks had maintained the advantage. The absence of Achilles from the battlefield made Trojan dominance easy. Patroclus provides the catalyst that ignites the turn of the war. Patroclus was also able to turn the tide of the battle while living as well. Patroclus tried to win the war for different reasons than Achilles. He did it to save his friends and army from destruction. In Patrocolus? attempt for victory he was unmatched on the battlefield by any mortal. An immortal interfered with Patroclus? conquest. ?And then and there the Achaeans might have taken Troy,/ her towering gates toppling under Patroclus? power/ heading the vanguard, storming on with spear./ But Apollo took his stand on the massive rampart,/ his mind blazing with death for him but help for Troy.? (16:816-820). The rampage Patroclus went on saved the Greek ships and drove the Tojans into Troy. ?But the will of Zeus will always overpower the will of men,/ Zeus who strikes fear in even the bravest man of war and tears away his triumph, all in a lightning flash,/ and at other times he will spur a man to battle,/ just as he urged Patroclus? fury now.? (16:805-809). Patroclus more than accomplished what he was assigned by his friend, but kept on raging in battle.
The main exterior function of Patroclus is to be the mighty Achilles? best friend. He is very skilled, but not Achilles equal. The relationship could be one of great envy on the part of Patroclus. He loves his dear friend, but is not jealous. He also is not a yes man to Achilles. He voices his opinions about his friends being slaughtered. Patroclus is the best man in the war. He would have taken Troy by himself if Apollo had not intervened. ?Back-/ Patroclus, Prince, go back! It is not the will of fate that the proud Trojans? citadel fall before your spear,/ not even before Achilles-far greater man than you!? (16:825-828). Achilles is not a far greater man. No mortal was able to defeat Patroclus. The deathless god Apollo caused the death of Patroclus. The one chance Patroclus had to distinguish himself was shot down by the deadly archer. Hector could not defeat Patroclus by himself. The glory that would come with the death of Hector wasn?t the driving force of Patroclus. He didn?t desire the glory Achilles was after. Patroclus could not have been such dear friend with Achilles, if he had such a thirst for glory as Achilles. Patroclus never complained about his fate. Achilles was destined to die a young man. ?Honor my son Achilles!-/ doomed to the shortest life of any man on earth.? (1:602-603). Achilles is a great warrior, and will die after receiving all the glory for sacking Troy. Patroclus died at a young age fighting bravely, yet the only glory he received was having the great Achilles as his biggest mourner. Patroclus was dealt the much harsher fate of the two.
Achilles has far more potential, but Patroclus uses his ability fuller. Patroclus uses what the gods gave him to serve others. He serves the great Achilles all his life, but he also serves the Greek army in their time of need. Achilles has upstaged Patroclus all his life. They are by no means equal. Achilles is much greater in the eyes of men for what he can accomplish. Patroclus is the truer hero for what he is able to, and the motives behind what he accomplishes.