Odysseus in Hades

When Odysseus met Achilles in Hades, Odysseus asked the son of Priam why he was so glum.

‘We honored you, we worship you, you are great among the Achaeans,’ said Odysseus.

‘I would rather be a servant to a servant above ground than a king of kings below it,’ replied Achilles.

Did this mean his choice was wrong? He should have taken the long happy life of obscurity?

Did this mean Achilles was second-guessing himself because he of all men made that choice?

Was it a failing of Achilles the man, who was given to temper and complaint?

Is it an indictment of life itself, that in the end it’s meaningless?

Eventually, Achilles asked Odysseus about his son, Neoptolemus. Odysseus told him Neoptolemus was alive and well, had conducted himself with honor, won glory, and returned home with the Myrmidons. And Achilles was pleased and walked away happy.

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