The Illiad and The Trojan War Notes by Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein 5 - The Wrath of Achilles The first portion of The Iliad  in the web text has to do with the wrath of Achilles, and the destructive power of anger.  Remember the old saying, “He whom the gods would destroy they first make angry.” The plot is this: Chryseis, daughter of the priest of Apollo Chryses, has been given to Agamemnon as his battle prize. Chryses prays to Apollo to avenge this deed and to get his daughter back. Apollo turns the tide of war for the Trojans. Kalchas is called to explain why Apollo is angry; he doesn’t want to say for fear it will affront Agamemnon. Achilles says he must speak and promises him immunity from retribution, even if the person most affronted is Agamemnon. Kalchas explains about Chryseis, and Agamemnon is indeed angry.  He agrees to give the girl back, even though he likes her better than his wife Clytemnestra, but he demands to be paid if he does so, and he ultimately demands Briseis, Achilles’ battle prize. Achilles and Agamemnon argue, Achilles feeling very hard done by because Agamemnon always gets the best of the spoils of war, and he starts to draw his sword. Athena arrives to stop him and makes him promise not to kill Agamemnon. After she leaves, Achilles calls Agamemnon a few names and says he will pull out of the fight because of this affront—and then, he says, everybody will be sorry, because the Greeks can’t win without him. A synopsis of what happens in the portion we don’t have is that Patroclus gets into the battle wearing Achilles’ armor.  He does very well for a time, but eventually he is killed by Hector. At this point Achilles has to enter the battle again to avenge Patroclus. He drags Hector’s body around the walls of Troy and mutilates it.  Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily