Achilles is a prominent character in William Shakespeare's play, Troilus and Cressida. He is a legendary Greek hero and the central figure of the Trojan War. Known for his exceptional strength, courage, and skill in battle, Achilles is one of the most celebrated warriors of Greek mythology.
According to the play, Achilles is the son of the mortal king Peleus and the sea nymph Thetis. He is also the leader of the Myrmidons, a contingent of Greek soldiers renowned for their loyalty and military prowess.
Achilles is depicted as a complex character in Troilus and Cressida, torn between his desire for glory and his personal vendetta against the Trojan prince, Hector. His refusal to fight for the Greek forces in the early stages of the war creates tension and conflict among the Greek leaders, who rely on his strength and leadership.
However, Achilles eventually enters the battle to avenge the death of his close friend Patroclus, who was killed by Hector. This leads to a climactic duel between Achilles and Hector, resulting in Hector's tragic death at the hands of the Greek hero.
One of the most famous aspects of Achilles' character is his vulnerability, as portrayed in Troilus and Cressida. According to ancient Greek mythology, Achilles was invulnerable except for his heel, which was his only weak spot.
In the play, Shakespeare explores this vulnerability both metaphorically and literally. While Achilles is physically strong and seemingly invincible on the battlefield, he is emotionally vulnerable and easily manipulated by his pride and anger.
This vulnerability is exemplified in Achilles' refusal to fight for the Greek cause, as he feels slighted by the Greek commander Agamemnon. His pride and wounded ego ultimately lead to disastrous consequences for both the Greeks and Trojans.
Despite his flaws, Achilles remains a fascinating character in Troilus and Cressida. His internal struggles and tragic fate serve as a cautionary tale about the destructive nature of ego and pride.