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Patrick O’Neil

Western Heritage
Final Paper
A war crime is a serous violation of the laws and customs of war.
Achilles should be prosecuted under the crimes manslaughter,
immortal connections, holding minors captive, false representation of
battle and dishonor towards the corpse of hector without a proper
burial. War is inevitable, it shows us every emotion that one could
posses, except the rage of Achilles. Achilles’ rage was so great that the
gods feared he could change the fate of others. Knowingly, the Gods
saw Achilles commit multiple War Crimes that were cruel and barbaric
with such force that he had created an impact. He Became Intertwined
with the immortals, similar to when dinner bell being rung people
rushed to eat, so did the gods when they heard he was fighting. They
acted to reassure the repercussions against his enemy weren’t too
great. “Rage – Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ song Achilles,
murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses hurling
down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls, great fighters souls
but made their bodies carrion feats for the dogs and birds” (1.1-6).
Achilles, leader of the Myrmidons, invincible warrior and dearest
son of Peleus was born into a world of violence. Achilles mother Thetis,
a goddess of water knew her own sons destiny. She spoke of a short

glorified life in battle. “Then you are doomed to a quick death, my son,
if you do what you say. For your death will follow son after the death of
Hector” (18.86-68). Achilles reached his full potential negatively with
intent to destroy and weaken others for the glory of war. “Lykaon let go
Achilles’ spear and he crouched and spread his arms wide, both of
them. Achilles drew his sharp sword and cut him on the collarbone
besides the neck, and then he buried the double-edged sword in his
neck” (21.116-120).
He allows himself to become susceptible to the environments
surrounding him to the opinion and motives of others. For no reason he
dragged twelve youths from the river and tied their hands behind
they’re back for use as hostages. He acts as a mercenary and
negotiates with the ability as a pirate. Achilles dragged the immortals
into the war due to his slaughtering of the Trojans. As he pilled more
bodies into the river of Xanthos, guarded by the God Xanthus, he at
once warned Achilles to stop blocking his river. Achilles spoke defiantly
“But I shall not give over killing the Trojans before I have driven them
into the city and made trial of Hector in the hand-to-hand. Either he will
destroy me, or I him” (21.225-227). Achilles actually engaged in war
with a god, a serious war crime that Zeus himself found in a
predicament due to Achilles grievances over Patroklos. He struggled,
and prayed to allied gods of which Athene and Poseidon came to aid
and remind his the mission of killing Hector. Zeus the god of gods was

watching from above and decided Achilles should survive the violent
drowning he was near. Hera, was then sent with Hephasitos to aide
Achilles as well. “We two are your helpers from the gods, and Zeus has
given his approval to Pallas Athena and me. It is not your destiny to die
by the river. The river shall soon let up” (21.290-292).
Achilles began to again mass slaughter Trojans that we all saw as
defenseless in spite until hector was brought in front of him. He could
not be a civilian; he is either stubborn or aggressive and both influence
the others to follow. There’s no middle ground for arguing. He should
be punished for mass murdering innocent lives. “Then he killed
Thersilochos and Mydon and Astyplyos and Mnesos and Thrasios and
Ainios and Ophelestes” (21.209-211).
Achilles also created a war crime when he gave Patroklos his
armor to fight. When he did this, Hector saw the opportunity to strike
Patroklos thinking it was Achilles. Achilles caused a large chain reaction
after his initial agreement with Patroklos. When Zeus gave Patroklos his
confidence in war he didn’t expect him to see Sarpedon, Zeus Son.
When they met Patroklos defeated Sarpedon. Soon after, Hector was
embraced with the power of Zeus and killed Patroklos. “Patroklos set
his foot on Sarpedon’s chest and drew the spear out of the flesh”
(16.510-511). Achilles screamed and cried so great that Thetis his
mother heard him from above and came down to support him. His
mother Thetis then convinced neutral Zeus to not only give Patroklos

his confidence before his death but also wish harm upon the Trojans as
we invade their land. This again represents a war crime with his
immortal connection to the gods. Achilles was the most involved
mortal to the gods due to his violence and attention hungry attitude.
“Zeus has fulfilled your wish, what you earlier prayed for and raised
your hands to- that the sons of the Achaeans be huddled at the sterns
of the ships, longing for you, and that they should suffer disastrous
things” (18.69-71).
As stated above, Achilles agreed upon Patroklos dressing in his
armor. Overall this had led to Achilles being responsible to prove
Hector was not at fault for neither his own death nor the death of
Achilles is very unjustified to again how many war crimes had
been committed. He is just as responsible for Sarpedons death as
much as he is Patroklos.
Hector was not at fault. And his life was taken from the war crime of
mistaken identification. After Achilles defeated Hector in battle he
completely discombobulated Hectors remains. He is cruel, he is
aggressive and he fights for his ego and his fate. “So he spoke,
contemplating how he would treat Hector shamefully. He pierced the
tendons of both feet from behind, from the heel to the ankle, and made
fast ox hide thongs, which he tied to the back of his chariot. He let
Hectors head drag on the ground. Then he mounted his horse and

drove away” (22.379-384). Dismembering a body and encouraging
other to stab at a corpse of a Leader in front of his family is extreme
war crime. It hit everyone home hard, especially Hectors mother. Prior
to the fight the two discussed burials. Hector stated that if he were to
kill Achilles, he would send his body back to his family. Achilles, in turn
replies that he will commit the most sacred unwritten law of war crime.
To never return the body. He were to receive a proper burial, instead
Achilles dragged Hectors body around for 10 days as the Gods
attempted to preserve every detail from further decay.
He is no war hero; he is an immature glorified protagonist with an
ego. The selfish Achilles resorted to reckless behavior. Achilles should
be tried for murder, as he is a threat to mankind. He let his fellow
comrades who had done nothing but follow his every move yet risk
their lives before hector. He had the power and ability to preserve life
but as a result ended more than he saved showing his willingness to
destroy for no reason.