Discuss the end of the poem"The Iliad". Does Achille's anger subside in book 24?

Why does Priam's speech move Achilles? What is the story of Niobe? Why does Achilles tell it? How do you think the story relates to the Iliad?

Asked by
Last updated by Cianna D #802075
Answers 2
Add Yours

Achilles' transformation is the true climax of the Iliad. Finally, there is an end to his rage. Looking on Priam, Achilles is able to make the great leap of empathy. He sees his own father in the old king, and he suddenly understands the anguish that he has caused for the old man and others like him, a mourning father for every man that he has killed. The revelation drives him into weeping, for what he has done and what he has lost. At last, Achilles has moved from rage to compassion. No longer is he cut off from humanity, waiting by the ships as his friends die in agony, or wishing for the hunger of an animal as he stands over a brutally slain victim. His sorrow now is deeper and more humane, far less selfish and self-absorbed than it has ever been in the past.



Hey! My LIT class is going over Homer's, The Iliad, and these same questions were asked. To help out, I'm just copying and pasting my answers:

To answer the first question: Yes, Achilles anger does subside, but only after Priam has given his speech. We can see this mentioned in lines 515-525 of book 24: “[515] forthwith then he sprang from his seat, and raised the old man by his hand, pitying his hoary head and hoary beard; and he spake and addressed him with winged words: “Ah, unhappy man, full many in good sooth are the evils thou hast endured in thy soul. How hadst thou the heart to come alone to the ships of the Achaeans, [520] to meet the eyes of me that have slain thy sons many and valiant? Of iron verily is thy heart…” Achilles agrees to return Hector’s body, however, the war doesn’t plan to end.

Secondly, Priam reminds Achilles about his father, and how Peleus would feel if Achilles had died in battle; this put into perspective for Achilles how Priam feels. Priam’s speech opens Achilles’ eyes as to how much strife he’s caused for not only Hector, but for his wife, child, and family.

Thirdly, in book 23 Niobe compared the number of her children with those of Artemis, the archer goddess. This angers Apollo, who kills Niobe’s sons; all the while Artemis kills Niobe’s daughters. Before mourning over her fallen children, Niobe decides to eat supper.

Achilles tells this story to convince Priam to come to supper, opposed to looking at Hector’s corpse, which Achilles is frightened will anger the king.

We can relate this story to Homer’s, The Iliad, because Niobe is known for being prideful, losing what she loves, and then being humbled, and we can relate this to Achilles’ story. Achilles had something taken away from him, and this causes his pride to swell because he wants to defend his honor. Achilles loses Patroclus to Hector, and he is humbled in his loss; he then kills Hector and his pride begins to swell again; Achilles drags Hector’s body around, until he is humbled once more by his mother Thetis, on behalf of the gods.