Sing, Goddess, Achilles’ rage,
Black and murderous, that cost the Greeks
Incalculable pain, pitched countless souls
Of heroes into Hades’ dark,
And left their bodies as feasts
For dogs and birds, as Zeus’s will was done.”
~The Iliad by Homer
Okay so in my first post I promised Heracles or Odysseus and ended the note on saying that I dislike Achilles. In fact, I called him a dick. I delivered on Heracles and now I am going to explain why Achilles is a dick. Achilles and Superman have one thing in common: they are dicks. But both men are jerks for very different reasons. Superman is a dick simply because he’s in ultra-god mode 24/7, barely able to be defeated (except for when Batman kicks his ass with that bit o’ kryptonite in his belt), and he’s too damn naive about humanity. Superman is a sympathetic character, because he trusts wholeheartedly and is compassionate for the human race despite being a super-powered alien. Still, even when he’s working for the Commie’s he still has noble intentions and still fucks everything up, because he is a naive douchebag. Achilles is a dick for a whole different reason.
Achilles is a whiny little snot who blames other people for his problems when he’s obviously caused them. Briseis gets stolen by Agamemnon–Achilles cries about it to his nymph mother Thetis, who comes rushing to his aid, and then gets ignored by the rest of the gods. Achilles claims that he loves Briseis. What does Achilles love about his sex slave from the Trojan people? Achilles loves the fact that she is one of his “spoils of war” and that she was willing to give it up to keep her head. You could watch ‘Game of Thrones’ to figure that one out. Every time that book comes around to when Thetis appears, I always imagine this:
Achilles (in a Cartman-esque voice): “MOOOOOOOOOOOMMMM!!! MEEAAAAMMMMMM! MOOOOMMMYYYYYY!!!”
Thetis: “Yes, poopy kins?”
Achilles: “Meaaammmm!!! Agamemnon stole my war prize and now I’m not gonna get fame or fortune or be noble and I’ll die an old man–AN OLD MAN WITH NOTHING TO SHOW, BUT PERHAPS LEGITIMATE CHILDREN!!”
Thetis: “I’ll take care of this, sweetheart, now give Mommy a kiss before she goes to see Zeus-i-pooh!”
UGGGHHH! Achilles is a such a whiny bastard. Okay, so after the whole Briseis thing falls through now we have to deal with Achilles blowing the whole Patroclus and Hector fight out of proportion. And let’s see, Achilles, how did Patroclus die? In your armor? On a battlefield? And why was he on that battlefield? BECAUSE YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE THERE! Patroclus, feeling like Achilles was being a lame shit and using the ‘Agamemnon took my slave’ card for reasoning not to fight, took up Achilles’ armor (with said man’s permission) and fought in the PLACE OF Achilles. Hector, seeing what he thought was Achilles, was all like: “Damn, son, that’s Achilles! PAY DAY! I’ma kill that whiny shit ‘fore he has the chance to kill me!” And so Hector decided to kill Achilles (who was really Patroclus) and then made the stupid decision of stripping Patroclus of the armor and (realizing it was Patroclus and saying “Awe, fuck my life! It’s not Achilles! It’s his damn doppelganger bitch-boy Patroclus!” ) retreated back into the walls of Troy like a ninny. The only bright people in this epic are King Priam and mainly the women like Andromache and Hector’s sisters and mother. I always thought Helen and Achilles would be a good pair…because they’re both whiny as hell and get alternating pity-parties in each book.
I digress. Achilles then decides all of this shit is Hector’s fault. Granted, Hector should have left the armor and probably should have sent a hefty apology by arrow-mail saying: “Sorry, bro, I meant to kill you and all…but I kinda killed your nephew/cousin/boyfriend. What is he anyway, man? Nevermind. He was wearing your armor, man, it was a classic mix-up. I apologize over killing Pat and not you…it won’t happen again. Peace out, Hector XOXO.” At least Achilles might not have desecrated Hector’s dead body, but with the amount of arrogance that Achilles had…he probably still would have at least pissed on the corpse. I will give Achilles one grain of sympathy: after having to chase some horse-fucker around a city wall until he finally faced me would piss me off, too, though. Not enough to kill someone and desecrate their corpse. And then have their father sneak into my camp at night and beg for his body back. That’s low, Achilles, that’s just wrong. Some ancient dude (I ALWAYS imagine Peter O’Toyle) with crazy eyes sneaking into a camp at night just to beg for his (albeit stupid) son’s body back tore at my cold, dead, and little charred-black heart. Achilles finally relented, but not after being a little moron about the entire thing. Priam went all guilt-trip on Achilles like my mom does when she wants a piece of my garlic bread. You cannot win against parental guilt trips, because everyone with a mother and father cannot deal with the thought of causing their parents any minor pain…mainly due to the fact that they will never let you forget the time you did not give them a piece of your garlic bread as if you had refused a parched orphan in the Gobi Desert your water.
Back to Achilles. He’s a dick.
Achilles cries over and over again. And over again. Achilles cries more than anyone–he cries more than Priam, Paris, Helen, and Andromache put together. Penthesilea ain’t cryin’ because she’s dead, fools, but she’s mighty pissed that Achilles hasn’t come to see Achilles Jr. in a while…and he’s been skipping out on child support. Better heroes: Brave Sir Hector (who bravely ran away, away), Odysseus and his boyeeeezz (AKA Greek’s first official fraternity), Leonidas the Defiant (even if he did lead his men into certain death), Tristan the Wife-Snatcher (from Arthurian Legend), and Cuchulain Slayer of Dogs. To end my little rant about a dead guy from an epic, I have thus decided to change Homer’s opening lines to this:
Cry, whelp of Thetis, Achilles, cry!
Trembling and torn, the Greeks called you a hero,
When they should have called you a rapist,
A murderer and a killer, who complains constantly!
The poor souls at the tip of your spear died,
Because you had not the heart to blame yourself, crybaby!”