The Fate of Achilles and the Shield of Achilles

ENG 2205

Question Description

5-page DOUBLE-SPACED essay (minimum length).

Notes to consider:

On page 284, Achilles decides to accept his fate. Achilles seems to be the only character here who has a choice about his own fate. Why? What are his choices? Does Hector have a comparable choice or not? How would you compare Achilles and Hector, in terms of their relative power to determine their own fate? What do you think Homer means by fate?

On pages 291-296, Homer describes in great detail the shield that the god Hephaestus makes for Achilles. What does the shield depict and what do those depictions mean? Why these pictures and not some others? If the shield is such a fine work of godlike art, what is it meant to represent in the story? Why does Homer spend so much time describing it? What does he want his audience to think about as they listen to this description? Bear in mind that the shield is 1) an instrument of war, 2) a work of art, and 3) a gift to man from the gods. What else is it beyond these three things?

Site from The Norton Anthology of World Literature 4th edition

Please be careful NOT TO PLAGIARIZE. *Any instances of plagiarism in the final essay will not result merely in a zero on the assignment but in a failure of the entire course.*

Unformatted Attachment Preview

- Achilles fate is that if he kills Hector he will die shortly after, but he is not afraid of this fate because he knows no one can escape their own fate. I would compare Hector and Achilles in terms of how they determine their fate by saying they are both reckless and will go to any extreme to win/get what they want. I think Homer would describe fate as unavoidable. The shield depicts the two cities and what is happening within them, they represent a city in Greece and Troy. For example on page 295 book XVIII it states, "Daedalus created for Ariadne of the lovely hair." This is just one of the personal touches added to the shield. I think Homer spends so much time describing it because he is so honored and thankful to have received this gift of armor. He wants his audience to think about how this is so much more than just a shield of armor, it is a gift from the gods that has so much life on it. - Iris flies down to Achilles and lets him know that he needs to prepare for battle because his dear friend Patroclus is dead and his body will soon be mutilated if he doesn’t do anything about it. Iris lets him know that if he decides to do nothing, the dishonor will be upon him when the beaten body arrives back. He is skeptical at first because he still does not have the armor he was told about, and Iris lets him know that it is on the way. Hector also has a choice of his own. Poulydamas advises him to leave before the imminent attack takes place, but Hector says that he is not a coward and he is going to fight. By fate, I think that no matter what, these two were going to fight. But Hector could have fleed and made it farther along, and Achilles could have stayed back and inevitably went later on. I believe that the shield depicts all aspects of life. Homer used great imagery so that the reader could properly imagine exactly what was on the shield. With peace and war, marriage, the sun and the moon, a normal working class and upper class are just a few examples of what their whole society represented. Beyond those three things, I think that it is a representation of creation and life. I think a good discussion would be to pick a certain aspect of the shield and why you think it is significant. - Achilles has a direct lineage to the gods through his mother, Thetis. Unlike others in the same situation, he and his mother share a tight bond and she watches over him very closely. The gods have the power to shape anyone's fate as they see fit. Achilles seems to have somewhat of a choice in his fate due to the fact that he can call upon his mother at any given time to receive information or to ask for favors from the gods. He knows that he could sail home without honor or fight Hector and soon die with honor. Knowing these for a fact, he is given the choice to select his own path. Thetis accepts Achilles' decision and speaks, "Then you will die soon, my child, from what you say; for your fate is prepared straightway after Hector's" (Homer 95-96). Hector does not receive the same advantages. He thinks that he has a chance to defeat Achilles and return home. His fate was not a choice but instead was unknowingly bound to happen in the end. These two men differ in terms of knowing when fate will arrive. Homer seems to refer to fate as the time in which a life comes to an end. - Before charging into battle, Achilles needs to acquire a new set of armor. His mother, Thetis, goes to ask Hephaestus to create some sturdy and beautiful armor. Among this armor is a great shield with many depictions. Hephaestus states, "Would that I were so surely able to hide him away from death and its hard sorrow, when dread fate comes upon him, as he will have this splendid armor, such as many a man of the many men to come shall hold in wonder, whoever sees it" (Homer 463-467). The images on the shield reveal the life between both the Greeks and the Trojans. Struggles and beauty shine across the entire work, revealing that they really aren't as different as the mortals may believe. The shield represents the existence of all life and also that the gods created life for the people. Upon giving life, the gods also have the power to take it away just as easily. Homer speaks with heavy lungs about the shield to show how important people are to each other and to the gods. Among other things, the shield is a device that can inform people on the greatness of the gods creations including the human race. - Achilles did seem to be the only character that had a choice by his fate because if he killed Hector he will not live much longer. Achilles's mother states in lines 95-100, "Then you will die soon my child, from what you say, for your fate is prepared straightway after Hector. The greatly troubled swift-footed Achilles spoke to her: "Straightway may I die, since I was not destined to help my companion as he was killed; and a very long way from his fatherland, he he perished and lacked me to be his defender against harm. Achilles does just what he wants to do. Achilles had a choice to go home and live long with out glory and if he goes home, he will live long without glory. If he stays he will have lots of glory, but plenty of short life. His choice is important because glory of gods don't control fate; there are times when they consider acting against it. Achilles wanted to battle. Hector does not have a comparable choice. Achilles is being held responsible for his own actions and decisions. Achilles don't mind fate because he knows that it can't be escaped. He is good with living in peace. Hector on the other hand believes that if he could avoid fate he would. Achilles shield that he depicts represents the outside of the world of the Trojan War which means scenery of war and peace. Hector wants Achilles to think about all what they have been through. - Gods have the power to decide the fates that they see fit. Unlike the others, Achilles mother is a god, so he has the upper hand of foreseeing his future. Although Achilles seems to be the only character there who has a choice about his fate, he could either choose to cowardly stay at home or he could kill Hector and experience the same consequences soon after. Whereas Hector, despite not having a god for a mother also had a choice. He could stay inside the walls of Troy or go out and fight Achilles. Both Achilles and Hector had the power to make a different decision. But it seems that everything is already fated to happen. Throughout the Iliad, it would as Homer describe both their fate as inevitable. Before heading off the battle, Achilles acquires a new shield. The shield is a microcosm of life on Earth because it depicts scenes from all aspects of life war and peace, labor and holiday, birth and death. I believe that the shield represents the cyclical nature of time and human events as ones turn the circular shield, one sees scenes of war and then peace and then war again. - Achilles feels that if he kills Hector he will soon die as well. He was warned that if he did not battle against Hector he would be shamed upon when he or his body returned back home. In those days, people believed that the Gods determined fate, but because he felt his mom could receive information from the Gods, he could make special request upon his behalf for his choice to be for the better. Either way he knew what the outcome would be in the battle against Hector: honor or dishonor. By understanding this, he is given the option to make his own choice. Archilles accepts the fact that he will battle and understands that he will soon die. He is willing to sacrifice his life so that his name will be remembered. He seems to believe his pride is more important and is willing to let his emotions over power him to retaliate against Hector. Hector happens to be one of the best warriors of the Trojans. Hector believed war and battle are evil and could never equal happiness, but he understood his motivation and bravery was more important than his pride. His loyalty is to his land and people by keeping it peaceful and safe. Hector understood that he would be celebrated as a hero with either choice that he made. - Homer expressed fate as each man for themselves. Each man understands what could happen in battle and they both had their own choices to make. We tend to make men responsible for their actions and own up to their responsibilities in their life; I believe Homer wanted each character to express their roles in their homelands and be able to choose their own destiny. Each man understood their fate in different ways. In my opinion it reminds me of how some people worship the bible and believes in the power of after life with Jesus and how others live by the ten commandments of the bible, whom may not believe in after life with a higher power. Homer used descriptions to help the audience visualize what the shield was made of and how it was designed. Each design had a meaning for life itself. ...
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Final Answer


The attached paper entails the following;


The fate and choices of Achilles

The fate of Hector compared to that of Achilles

Hector and Achilles relative power to determine their fate

The shield and the meaning of its depictions and images

Descriptions of the shield by Homer and their purpose to the audience

Other purposes of the shield

Summary of Achilles


Works cited

Achilles and Hector both have some fate that has been prophesied to them by the gods.
However, Achilles has a choice over his future because he has a direct lineage to the gods through
his mother, Thetis. Unlike others in the same situation, he and his mother share a tight bond, and
she watches over him very closely. The gods have the power to shape anyone's fate as they see fit.
Therefore, he seems to have somewhat of choice in his future because he can call upon his mother
at any given time to receive information or to ask for favors from the gods.
Achilles’ mother then tells him that his fate is to kill Hector. However, he has a choice of
determining his fate. He can either fight Hector and kill him, whereby he is to also die shortly after
that with honor or sail home without honor and live for long. Achilles is not afraid of his fate; he
decides to impress his fate and decide to fight Hector and die shortly after with reverence. Has a
great warrior, he cannot entertain the idea of living long without glory. He also believes that the
gods decide the fate and no one can escape their fate. The killing of Achilles’ companion seemed
to have also ignited his anger. After her mother tells him that he will die soon after killing Hector,
he doesn’t seem scared. He tells her, “Straightway may I die since I was not destined to help my
companion when they killed him; and a very long way from his fatherland, he perished and lacked
me to be his defender against harm.” His mother, Thetis, accepted the decision that he chose, as
she tells him, “Then you will die soon, my child, from what you say; for your fate is prepared
straightway after Hector's” (Puc...

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