What were some characteristics of Achilles?


Quick Answer

The most famous portrayal of Achilles is in Homer's "Iliad," in which Achilles is portrayed as a brave, loyal, cocky, intelligent and even superhuman soldier. In Achilles' case, the word "superhuman" is literal; he is the result of a union between a god and a mortal.

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Full Answer

Achilles is a classical Greek character whose mother, Thetis, is one of the Nereids — daughters of the god of the sea. However, because Achilles' father is a mortal, Achilles himself is a mix of the divine and the human; he has godlike prowess and strength, but he also has human emotions, including hubris, which end up limiting his accomplishments and even leading to his death. In the "Iliad," we see Achilles experience emotions like rage, confusion, grief and a sense of individualism. Achilles is also fiercely loyal to his friend Patroclus, who dies in battle while fighting in Achilles' places. Achilles' grief over Patroclus' death is a major element of his character and the overall story of the "Iliad."

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