Achilles and His Life
by Jordan

The clash of swords and shields echo throughout the city of Troy as Achilles lays waste to all in his path. Achilles was the 'immortal' demi-god who was also the savior of the Greeks during the Trojan War. This great being was the greatest Greek warrior who ever lived but suffered a tragic yet ironic death.
Achilles was known throughout Greek mythology as being the greatest warrior that has ever lived; however, he would not have been the greatest if he did not become immortal. There have been many disputes on how Achilles became immortal: the old way, and the new way. The old way states that Achilles was covered in a godly substance called Ambrosia and then put him in a fire so that his mortality would burn away (Encyclopedia Mythica). The newer version of the story states that Achilles’ mother, Thetis, dipped Achilles into the river Styx, which makes anything it touches immortal (Encyclopedia Mythica). Achilles was technically immortal except for one part on his body, and that was his heel. Only his heel was mortal because Thetis held Achilles by his heel and dipped him into the sacred waters of the Styx. In all, Achilles is known for being the strongest, greatest warrior but being a great warrior has its drawbacks, and unfortunately for Achilles, it killed him. That is why a person’s weak spot is called their ‘Achilles Heel.’

When Achilles was incognito or disguised as a young woman in Lycomedes, he would not be discovered by Odysseus and taken to war with the Trojans (Greek Mythology Link). The reason he was not supposed to go to war was because a prophet named Calchas foresaw that Achilles would die an early death in the war with the Trojans (Greek Mythology Link). Since Odysseus’ men were losing many casualties to the Trojans, Odysseus called for Achilles, however, Odysseus could not find him. Odysseus knew, for he was a very cunning soldier, that Achilles was hiding somewhere in the city of Scyros and sought to find him (Encyclopedia Mythica). During a banquet one night, Odysseus put weapons and shields, and spears out near the women’s gifts and found that only one lady was fascinated by them. That lady happened to be Achilles, so Odysseus took him and led him to Troy to fight in the war. Achilles was then known by the Trojans as a warrior that could not be killed because of his immortality.

After Hector was dragged away by Achilles’ chariot, the body was taken to the Greek’s camp and was never going to be returned to Hector’s family. With Hector’s body disgraced by being dragged in the dirt, the body could not have a proper funeral ceremony and laid to rest properly. The Greeks had no use for Hector’s body and were probably going to just burn it away, however, someone from the Trojan’s side sneaked into the camp of the Greeks and begged Achilles for Hector’s disgraced body. That person happened to be Priam, Hector’s father. Priam pleads and pleads for Hector’s body and Achilles takes pity on Priam. It is said that Priam gave his son a grand funeral and proper burial services after he had taken the body of Hector back (Encyclopedia Mythica).

Once Achilles was fighting in the Trojan War, he was known to be an unstoppable warrior. While on his tour of conquest, he laid waste to a town called Lyrnessos and captured a woman named Briseis as a war prize. However one of Achilles’ comrades, Agamemnon, was told that he had to let go of his own war prize by an oracle of Apollo. When Agamemnon had to give up his war prize, it was only fair that Achilles give up his too. Achilles was infuriated with this and refused to fight the rest of the war, so he sent his friend Patroclus to fight as him (Greek Mythology Link). Patroclus donned Achilles’ armor and went to fight however; he was killed and stripped of his armor by the hero of the Trojans, Hector. Achilles was so upset that he had armor made by Hephaestus and went right back into the fighting. Soon after he began to fight again, Achilles killed the Trojan hero Hector and tied his body to the back of a chariot and dragged Hector’s body across the ground so it could not have a proper funeral service. Hector’s father, Priam, went to the Greek’s camp and begged for Hector’s body. Shortly thereafter, Achilles was killed by Hector’s brother, Paris. Paris was helped by Apollo and shot an arrow in Achilles weak spot; his heel. Achilles was so mortally wounded he died shortly afterwards.

When Achilles was shot in the heel and killed by Paris, his body was taken by Ajax and Odysseus, and a grand ceremony was held in Achilles’ honor. Thetis, Achilles’ mother, said that Achilles’ armor was to be awarded for the next greatest warrior in the Greek’s army. Other war generals and important people also competed for Achilles’ armor but Ajax and Odysseus quickly rose to the top of the charts. Ajax and Odysseus competed vigorously for the Armor in speech and debate and Odysseus won. The reason he won is because to the Greeks, wit and cunning were more important that valor and strength. Once Odysseus won Achilles’ famed armor, Ajax went mad and then shortly thereafter committed suicide (in2greece).

Achilles would have done greater things if he was not killed by Paris; however the things he did do changed how the future of the Greeks would have turned out. All of Greece loved him for what he was and how he helped them. I learned that everybody including Achilles has their weak spots and sometimes it is those weak spots that can be the end for you. Also, I learned that even though you are at the top of the charts, you can still fall right to the bottom.

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Achilles Shot in the Heel by Paris. The Arrow was guided by Apollo.

Works Cited
1. “Achilles.” Encyclopedia Mythica. 2009. Encyclopedia Mythica Online.
07 Dec. 2009 <>.

2. “Achilles.” Greek Mythology Link. 1997. Genealogical Guide to Greek Mythology. 07 Dec. 2009 <>

3. “Achilles.” 2009. 07 Dec. 2009 <>