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Consider the Poet’s Artistry in Rendering the Angst and Grief of Priam and Achilles

Priam’s response to Hecuba and to Iris when he gets news of the gods’ decisions.

After getting the news of gods’ decisions, Priam responded differently to both Hecuba (Priam’s wife) and Iris (the goddess). As a caring wife, Hecuba feared for her husband after realizing that Priam was going to the Achilles’ camp. Hecuba was concerned about the safety and the security of Priam because she never imagined that her husband will be protected by the gods. Despite Hecuba’s concerns, Priam was still adamant about proceeding to the Achilles’ camp. For that matter, Priam responded to Hecuba cautioning her not to be a bird of bad omen in his palace. Priam responded to Hecuba with a warning. But, Hecuba told Priam to at least purify himself to ensure that there is no room for bad omen. Priam did exactly what he was told by Hecuba where he purified himself before leaving to the Achilles’ camp.

Before, responding to Hecuba, Priam had received a message from Iris which required him to go to the Achilles’ camp. Iris instructed Priam not to go to the Achilles’ camp as a king of Troy but instead go as a suppliant playing a fatherly role. Iris further instructed Priam that if he were to go as a King of Troy, he would lose spiritual gain since the meeting would be purely for negotiating. But if he goes as a suppliant, he would fall into the class of a guest-friend where Achilles receive and honor him as the father of Hector. Priam was concerned about what would befell him when Hector died. This message from Iris to Priam was received with lots of trust. Priam had a lot of trust in all that came from Iris and he responding by adhering to follow all the instructions.

How is Priam greeted by Achilles? Discuss

When Priam went to the Achilles under the instruction of Iris, he went as a suppliant instead of king of Troy. When a person goes to the Achilles as a suppliant, the Achilles receives him as a guest-friend. On reaching Achilles place, Priam kissed the hands of the Achilles which put aside his kingly role. This act made Achilles to receive Priam the same way he would have received his father even though Priam broke a taboo by kissing the hands of Achilles. In summary, Priam is greeted by Achilles in a manner that portray Achilles as a suppliant. He is not greeted with a status of a King.

What does Achilles learn from his encounter with Priam?

An encounter with Priam enables Achilles to learn more about sympathy and human understanding. The act where Priam kisses the hands of Achilles awakens the character of sympathy in Achilles where he sees Priam as his own father. Achilles did not believe that Priam will one day fail to avenge the death of his son Hector. Also, despite being a King, Priam humbles himself before Achilles just a suppliant would have done. Achilles realizes that if one wrongs another one, the result can not always be revenge but also forgiveness as demonstrated by Priam. On human understanding, Achilles comes to better understand humanity when he sees Priam mourning his son Hector. Here, Achilles feels the pain that a father encounters when his son is killed. This inner feeling made Achilles mourn when he remembers what his father will endure when he, Achilles, finally dies.

What does Achilles learn about himself?

Achilles learn a new insight of human understanding. He learns an understanding of the world and its social mores. He begins to feel sympathy for other human sufferings. He feels the pain of a father when his son is murdered. It is at this juncture that Achilles begins to transform by purifying himself and accepting himself as a normal person. He begins to feel more human and decease from his past spiritual practices which he sees as being against the social mores of the world. To one extent, he regrets his past deeds by accepting that he was not doing the right things. Achilles learns a harsh lesson that sees his wrath becoming anguish while the anguish of Priam becomes forgiveness. This personal acceptance makes Achilles consider himself as being equal as other persons and that the sufferings which others undergo is the same suffering that can befell him.



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