Should Achilles of Retrieved Patrocluss Body?

It is hard to imagine what you would do if you lost your lifelong best friend to war and
had to decide whether or not to put yourself and others in danger to retrieve their body. In Homer's The Iliad, Achilles was to make this exact and emotionally challenging decision. Everyone agrees Patroclus's body had been left on the battlefield, but while some argue that Achilles should not have put so many at risk to retrieve the body, some feel the opposite.
Achilles should have retrieved Patrocules's body for three reasons: For the honor of
Patroclus, the admiration of Achilles, and the motivation of the soldiers.
The first reason Achilles should have retrieved Patroclus' body was for the honor of Patroclus. Patroclus died an un-heroic death, so making the rescue of his body very significant it would have created a legacy for him and subsequently made his death seem much more honorable. By making the retrieving of Patroclus's body of that importance, it would have painted him in a more dignified and nobler light in death, which would have also placed more respect on his family as well.
The second reason Achilles should have retrieved Patroclus's body was for the admiration of Achilles. It would have made him seem very respectable and caring, putting the honor and care of the afterlife of a fallen soldier before anything else at the moment. The people at the time of the Iliad believed that if your body were not buried, you would not cross over to the afterlife and instead would be stuck in an uncomfortable position between worlds. Achilles retrieving the body for burial showed he cared for the fallen soldier and would have made him seem quite admirable.
The third reason Achilles should have retrieved Patroclus's body was for the motivation of the soldiers. The soldiers had been fighting in the Trojan War for nine years, and presumably may have felt that their efforts were without cause and subsequently felt entirely unmotivated. Seeing the importance put on saving Patroclus's body could have given them hope for themselves and their future legacy. Patroclus's honor would have been great after all of the trouble was put into retrieving his body; he may have seemed like a mighty hero if his body was worth that much to save. The soldiers seeing this could have felt as if their efforts were leading to this sort of remembrance and honor, one of the most important things to the Greeks of this time, which could have given them a spark of motivation.
Some argue that Achilles should not have saved Patroclus' body because he went against Achilles's will and followed the Trojans back into Troy (Homer 16.112-114). However, while this idea seems fair, there were so many other heroic things Patroclus had done, and in going into Troy, he managed to kill many more trojan soldiers and even one of Zeus' sons. So we can see that it is unfair to say the retrievement of his body was unjustified by his actions because though he went against Achilles, he still managed many justifying heroics acts.
In extension, people argue that Achilles should not have retrieved Patroclus' body because it could have caused the soldiers to question Achilles's leadership, making such a quick and brash decision. Still, this argument is unfounded because the rescue of Patroclus' body is justified by the fact that if they had not rescued his body, he would not have passed on to the afterlife and therefore was an adequate reason to justify saving him. Additionally, it showed the Greek army to be confident enough to be able to retrieve Patroclus and proved them to still be strong and capable.
Neither of these arguments-that Patroclus went against the will of Achilles and so did not deserve the the risk taken for his body to be rescued, and that Achilles retrieving Patroclus' body would have made him look like an inadequate leader-would be a legitimate reason not to retrieve Patroclus' body.
Achilles should have retrieved Patroclus' body because of the honor of Patroclus, the admiration of Achilles, and the motivation of the soldiers.
Works Cited Homers 'The Iliad' Translation by Robert Fitzgerald.
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