How does Achilles die in the Odyssey



Biographical information

Social information

Statistical information


  • Battle for the Temple of Apollo
  • Duel between Achilles and Hector
  • Conquest of Troy


Achilles is a Greek warrior prince, son of Peleus and the goddess Thetis. He is not subject to anyone, but his desire for immortal glory leads him to fight for Agamemnon, King of Mycenae and Great King of Greece, although he rejects Agamemnon's lust for power.


Achilles moved with Agamemnon's army to Thessaly, which is the only Greek kingdom still free. The Thessalians have already lost one battle, but the country has not yet been conquered. Agamemnon lets his army take action against the men of King Triopas again. The great king makes the proposal to decide the war by a duel between the two best warriors of the respective army. Triopas agrees and calls his giant Boagrius to fight. For his part, Agamemnon calls for Achilles - but he is not on the battlefield. Agamemnon's general sends a messenger boy to Achilles' tent, who finds the warrior sleeping and in the company of two women.

When he is fully equipped and gets on his horse, the boy speaks of the stories about Achilles: that his mother is an immortal goddess and that he is therefore immortal. He asks him if that is true. Achilles says that if it were so, he wouldn't need his shield. The boy points out that the Thessalian Achilles is supposed to fight is the greatest man he has ever seen and he does not want to fight him. Achilles mockingly remarks that no one will remember his name for this reason and rides to the battlefield.

Once there, Agamemnon receives him with mockery and abuse, which almost leads to Achilles refusing to follow him. Only Nestor can change his mind by telling Achilles that not only can he save many men if he fights, but also that they will sing songs to his glory.

Achilles runs up against Boagrius, the fighter chosen by Triopas, intercepts a spear that Boagrius throws at him, evades the second, jumps up and rams his sword into the body of the Thessalian from above. Boagrius is dead before he hits the ground. The Thessalians are paralyzed when Achilles stands in front of their ranks and asks aloud whether that is all. Triopas asks him for his name, which he answers with "Achilles, son of Peleus". The Thessalian king wants to give him his scepter to be passed on to Agamemnon, but Achilles refuses, pointing out that Agamemnon is not his king.

After the war against Thessaly, Achilles withdrew to a large extent into private life in Phthia. There he trains his cousin Patroklos, whom he took in from his parents after his death. Here Odysseus seeks him out, who, on behalf of Agamemnon, is supposed to persuade him to take part in the war against Troy. Achilles reacts with rejection because he has no enmity against Troy, because the Trojans did nothing to him. He does not see the fact that Paris has stolen his wife Helena from Menelaus as an insult to the whole of Greece. Rather, he thinks that Menelaus has no honor because he could not keep his wife. It was only when Odysseus made it clear that neither this war nor the warriors participating in it would be forgotten that Achilles became thoughtful.

He asked his mother, the goddess Thetis, who prophesied that he would be happy in Larissa (Phthia) with his wife (who is not yet in his life), children and grandchildren, but that his name would be forgotten after the death of his grandchildren devices. But if he went to Troy, his name would be known for thousands of years. The price, however, would be his death. Achilles decides to go to war to reap the prophesied glory.

When the Greek fleet arrives at the Trojan coast, Achilles rowed faster to be the first to reach the beach. In order not to endanger his cousin, he orders Patroclus, to his annoyance, to stay on board as a ship guard. His captain Eudorus asks if they shouldn't wait for the others; this was Agamemnon's command. Achilles thinks that those Agamemnon who fought for him should obey and promises his men, the Myrmidons, immortality. His ship actually lands first.

Achilles and his myrmidons land and immediately attack the temple of Apollo on the beach. The defending soldiers of Troy are slain, as are the priests who serve in the temple. Achilles gets into a bloodlust and hears that the soldiers who are still on the landing ships are chanting his name, which increases Agamemnon's hatred of Achilles. It is quite clear to the great king that Achilles could dispute his throne for him if he wanted to.

Hector and his Apollonians arrive on horseback. Some attacked Ajax, who had also landed in the meantime, and his soldiers from Salamis. Hector and his captain Tekton ride on to the temple to drive the Greeks out of there. Achilles sees them coming, has Eudoros give him a spear, which he hurls at Tekton with an "unbelievable throw" (statement from Hector to his wife Andromache) and kills him fatally. As the last to stand outside the temple, he lures the Trojans under Hector's leadership into the ambush in the temple that his people have meanwhile prepared. The fierce battle kills at least eight of the Myrmidons, but none of the Trojans survives except Hector. He places Achilles in the holy of holies without knowing who he is looking at. Achilles is arrogant towards Hector and only refuses to fight him because he has no spectators. Hector pursues him to the rear exit of the temple, and is surrounded by the myrmidons there. Achilles releases him with the advice to have fun with his wife and drink wine. The war begins the following day.

As the only survivor of his troops, Hector can ride back unhindered. Achilles steps on the roof of the temple and greets the Greek troops chanting his name on the beach with the raised sword.

As Achilles is making his way to his bed, he meets Ajax, who before landing grumbled that Achilles would like the glory for himself, and declares that it is an honor for him to go to war with Achilles because he is as fearless as he is a God.

In his tent he finds Briseis tied to one of the posts, which his men found in the Temple of Apollo, where she was hiding. They give Achilles the young woman as a present and say, "He would probably have fun with her," as Eudoros put it. Briseis impressed the warrior prince with her courage to dare to contradict even as prisoners. He quickly falls in love with his "gift".

When Agamemnon had Briseis taken away from him by Aphareos and Haemon in order to claim them himself, for Achilles it was the drop that brought the barrel to overflowing. He refuses to continue fighting for Agamemnon and orders his men to stay away from the fighting. Eudorus accepts the order, but Patroclus does not understand his cousin's demeanor. Achilles notices that he made a mistake in training his student: he taught him how one fights, but not Why one fights. However, the pupil misinterprets his hint that he (Patroclus) would be lost if he followed the orders of a fool.

While the Greek army marches in front of the gates of Troy, Achilles and his men stay away. After the army leaves, the Myrmidons go to the roof of the Temple of Apollo to watch what happens. Achilles later follows his men and sees from the upper roof that Agamemnon is making the tactical mistake of bringing the troops too close to the city wall within the range of the Trojan archers.

When Paris breaks off the agreed duel with Menelaus because of a leg wound and Hector kills Menelaus, who refuses to accept Paris' withdrawal, the Greeks attack on Agamemnon's orders. Achilles watched the attack with concern, grumbling that the Greeks should form a line of attack. Odysseus has the same idea, but the Trojans throw the Greeks back until they escape. The Trojan advance is only stopped by Prince Hector in order not to let the Trojans come within the range of the Greek archers.

Achilles learns in an unknown way that Briseis is left to the Mycenaean soldiers as consolation after the lost battle. He arrives just in time to prevent Haemon from branding her as a slave and presses the branding iron on Haemon's neck, knocks down another of the Mycenaean soldiers with the branding iron and takes Briseis to his tent.

Once there, he wants to clean her wounds, but she fights him off vigorously and finally washes herself. He offers her something to eat, which she accepts only reluctantly. When she reproaches him for having met men like him many times before, he denies. In the resulting conversation it becomes clear that he is no ordinary person, because he says he has seen the gods (which is possible for him as a demigod) and declares that the gods envy people for their mortality, because any moment can be the last. Everything is so much nicer because people die one day. Every moment is precious because it will not come again.

The following night he wakes up when Briseis tries to cut his throat. He tells her to do what she wants. In response to her astonished question as to whether I am not afraid to die, he says: "Whether now or in fifty years: what does that matter? Do it!" But Briseis is unable to look him in the eye and kill him. Achilles uses the chance to kiss her and to unite with her, against which she no longer defends herself, but even comes towards him.

The morning after, the world is different for Achilles. He realizes that he has fallen in love with Briseis and because of her he no longer wants to take part in the war against the Trojans. While he is still looking at his beloved, Eudorus appears and announces a visitor to him. Achilles follows his captain's call and gives him the order to vacate the camp.

The visitor is Odysseus, who tries to persuade Achilles to stay on behalf of Agamemnon. Achilles respects Odysseus the most of all the kings of Greece, but he realizes that Odysseus himself is only a servant in this war. Odysseus explains that Ithaca - an island in the Ionian Sea - cannot afford to have Agamemnon as an enemy and replies to Achilles' mocking objection: "Should we be afraid of him?": "Fear is useful. You are not afraid of anyone. The is your problem. "

But Achilles insists that he will no longer support Agamemnon. Odysseus has to leave without having achieved anything.

Patroclus criticizes Achilles' attitude and intention to leave and reproaches him for saying that he only wants to leave so that Agamemnon can lose. The defiance of his young cousin only infuriates the warrior lord. He commands sharply that the ship will sail the following morning.

The next morning, however, has a nasty surprise in store for Achilles: When he comes out of his tent relatively late, his men have just returned from a fight. He rebukes Eudoros for disobeying his order. The captain writhes like an eel and does not know how to bring the terrible news to his master. He says that it was not he who led the Myrmidons into battle, but Achilles himself - they would have believed. Achilles notices that Patroclus is not there and calls for him. Eudorus explains that the young man wore Achilles' armor and even moved like him. When Achilles asked again where he is, Eudorus admits that Patroclus is dead - felled by Hector, who cut his throat. Achilles does not take note of the statements made by Eudorus that Patroclus had deceived him and his men and that he was only recognized when Hector removed his helmet.

Achilles doesn't know what to do with his anger. He almost strangles Eudoros and Briseis, only leaving them alive at the last moment. When Patroclus' body has been brought in, Achilles, the closest relative, organizes the funeral and is the last to leave the gigantic pyre on which the body is cremated.

The pyre burned down at dawn. Achilles returns to his tent and puts on his armor. He lets the car harness, give himself a rope and refuses to be accompanied. Briseis suspects what he is up to and begs him to spare Hector, but Achilles resists her pleading. He drives alone to Troy and shouts in front of the gate for Hector, who complies with the demand for a duel as a man of honor. He makes it clear that he assumed that he had fought against Achilles and that he had paid his last respects to the dead. Hector offers Achilles the pact that the survivor should grant the vanquished all burial rituals. Achilles refuses to do this and threatens to tear out his eyes, ears and tongue so that he can walk blind, deaf and dumb through the underworld and everyone there would know that this was Hector, the fool who believed he had killed Achilles.

The two warriors engage in a furious battle that demands everything from both of them, but Achilles proves to be the stronger. He thrusts his sword into Hector's chest. To the horror of all witnesses to this duel, he ties the dead man to his wagon by the feet and drags him into the Greek camp like a dead animal. The unworthy treatment of the dead causes Priam to faint and Paris to swear vengeance in silence.

Achilles has a visitor that night. It is Priam who can make it clear to him that Hector was just as mistaken as Achilles' own people. Priam can counter the accusation of Achilles that Hector killed his cousin by stating that Achilles himself killed cousins, brothers, sons and fathers. The warrior prince admired the courage of the old king and not only released Hector's corpse for burial, but granted the Trojans twelve days of peace so that the funeral celebrations could take place. He also releases Briseis, who returns to the city with Priam

- further processing follows -


Achilles is played by Brad Pitt and dubbed by Martin Keßler.


"It is still too early in the day to kill princes."
- Achilles to Eudorus when he asked why he was letting Hector go to Troy, DVD chapter 12

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ According to the script, scene 4