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