One of the main characters of Homer's Iliad
, Achilles is plagued by
Hubris which brings about his downfall.
The son of a water nymph and a mortal king, Achilles led a charmed life.
In order to make her son immortal, Thetis (his mother) dipped him in the River
Styx. Thus he was made invulnerable (except for the heel she held to dip him--
thus the term "achilles heel"). Achilles was educated by the centaur (half-man,
half-horse) Cheron, but he had a wild streak from his youth, and was soon off
conquering neighboring kingdoms. His adventures reveal more than a knack for
warfare -- they show a lust for women and a hot temper.
Achilles joines the war against Troy led by Agamemnon. After kidnapping
attractive girl, Agamemnon insults her father, who happens to be a priest of
Apollo. Agamemnon agrees to give the girl back, but insists on taking Achilles'
mistress. Achilles is furious, and pulls out of the war. He even refuses a
payoff offered by Agamemnmon, claiming that he believes nobility and honor
greater than goods.
Eventually he rejoins the battle to avenge the death of his best friend.
kills Hector, the Trojan prince who killed his friend, and abuses the corpse
(drags it around the city walls behind his chariot -- that sort of thing).
The gods trigger guilt in him, and he gives the corpse back to the Trojans.
Achilles himself is killed soon after through treachery.
Throughout the story, Homer makes it clear that Achilles brings about his
own downfall. The gods may make declarations, but it is Achilles' stubborn
pride that causes him so much trouble.