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Achilles misdiagnosed

I was surprised to read Chris Smith's suggestion ("Temper, Temper," February/01) that Achilles suffered from Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED). The article explains that people with IED do not have the "reflective delay" that intervenes between anger and act; if I remember correctly, Achilles spends most of the Iliad sitting in his tent refusing to do anything. The article further explains that people with IED become angry at the "smallest provocation."

Achilles's provocation is very great. Forced to return Chryseis, Agamemnon has taken Achilles's spear-bride, Briseis, to replace her, which leads to the near-maceration of the Greek army. In doing so, he has denied Achilles recognition as a great warrior and taken away the greatest motivation of the Greek hero.

Leslie E. Burns, AB'62
New York, New York


 


  APRIL 2001

  > > Volume 93, Number 4


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