Reminiscent of a Beast or God
Aristotle said, The man who is incapable of working in common, or who is his self-sufficiency has no need of others, is no part of the community, like a beast or god. Merriam-Webster s dictionary defines self-sufficiency as: able to maintain oneself or itself without outside aid: capable of providing for one's own needs. In Homer s, The Iliad, Achilles was not only the main character, but also the figure that best describes the characteristics of man as defined by Achilles.
Achilles was the son of the mortal Peleus and the Nereid Thetis. He was also the mightiest of the Greeks who fought in the Trojan War. When Achilles was a boy, the seer Calchas prophesied that the city of Troy could not be taken without his help. Achilles mother, Thetis, knew that if her son went to Troy he would die an early death. Therefore she disguised him as a young girl, but he was finally penetrated by Odysseus and began to capture the Trojan territory.
Achilles destine is death, and although he is aware of that, he makes his own choices. This is the first characteristic of Achilles that hinders Aristotle s statement. He is self-sufficient in one sense, yet in another he is not. The other aspect that he is not self-sufficient is that of women. He was known to have a number of romantic episodes, along with the prize he won in The Iliad.
In Achilles encounter with Agamemnon, he can t be bought by Agamemnon, because his claimed his life is more important that goods. It seems as though a beast or God could not be bought with goods as well, therefore Achilles fits Aristotle s description as a God-like figure. In the time frame of Aristotle s quote, a beast would be described as a person that is despised which would also fit Achilles character. Although he was the mightiest of the Greeks, he was not the biggest fan of most.
Aristotle says, has no need of others, in which Achilles fits very well. Friends or children like most do not see him surrounded. The only need he seems to have is the need for women. He also risks that lives of those closest to him, in order to achieve his own ends. This also shows that he is prideful in the fact that he doesn t care for the people closest to him, and that he doesn t need them.
Achilles, although very strong and powerful, felt that he was above the rest of mankind. He learned that he did need the care of others when Hector killed his best friend, Patroclus. In this scene, Achilles wept, and therefore sought revenge against the murderer of his friend. However, we still might wonder if he wanted revenge for his own care, or for the pride of knowing that he couldn t be beat. In any sense, Achilles does fit the description that Aristotle portrayed in his quote: The man who is incapable of working in common, or who is his self-sufficiency has no need of others, is no part of the community, like a beast or god.