Song of Achilles Quotes

The Song of Achilles Quotes


1. “We were like gods at the dawning of the world, & our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.”
(Song of Achilles Quotes)

2. “Bury us, and mark our names above. Let us be free.”

3. “The presence of the other boys did not comfort me; our dead come for their vengeance regardless of witnesses.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

4. “Life for women in ancient Greece was hard—you had to fight for every inch of ground you got. Both Thetis and Briseis are strong, passionate women and in another time and place their lives would have been very different.”

5. “Achilles’ eyes lift. They are bloodshot and dead. “I wish he had let you all die.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

6.

Song of Achilles Quotes

“I am made of memories.”

7. “I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.”

8. “I found myself grinning until my cheeks hurt, my scalp prickling till I thought it might lift off my head. My tongue ran away from me, giddy with freedom. This, and this, and this, I said to him. I did not have to fear that I spoke too much. I did not have to worry that I was too slender, or too slow. This and this and this! I taught him how to skip stones, and he taught me how to carve wood. I could feel every nerve in my body, every brush of air against my skin.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

9. “All I saw was his beauty, his singing limbs, the quick flickering of his feet.”

10. “I will never leave him. It will be this, always, for as long as he will let me.
If I had had words to speak such a thing, I would have. But there were none that seemed big enough for it, to hold that swelling truth.
As if he had heard me, he reached for my hand. I did not need to look; his fingers were etched into my memory, slender and petal-veined, strong and quick and never wrong.
“Patroclus,” he said. He was always better with words than I.”
(Song of Achilles Quotes)

11. “In making Achilles and Patroclus lovers, I wasn’t trying to speak for all gay men, just as when I write straight characters, I don’t claim to speak for all straight people.” – Madeline Miller, Author

12. “When he speaks at last, his voice is weary, and defeated. He doesn’t know how to be angry with me, either. We are like damp wood that won’t light.”

13. “Bring him back to me,’ he told them.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

14. “My mind is filled with cataclysm and apocalypse: I wish for earthquakes, eruptions, flood. Only that seems large enough to hold all of my rage and grief. I want the world overturned like a bowl of eggs, smashed at my feet.”

15. “The ship’s boards were still sticky with new resin. We leaned over the railing to wave our last farewell, the sun-warm wood pressed against our bellies. The sailors heaved up the anchor, square and chalky with barnacles, and loosened the sails. Then they took their seats at the oars that fringed the boat like eyelashes, waiting for the count. The drums began to beat, and the oars lifted and fell, taking us to Troy.”

16. “A part of what makes myths live is their multiplicity, the way different voices retell them in every generation.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

Song of Achilles Quotes about Love

17. “I will go,” he said. “I will go to Troy.”
The rosy gleam of his lip, the fevered green of his eyes. There was not a line anywhere on his face, nothing creased or graying; all crisp. He was spring, golden and bright. Envious death would drink his blood, and grow young again.
He was watching me, his eyes as deep as earth.
“Will you come with me?” he asked.
The never-ending ache of love and sorrow. Perhaps in some other life I could have refused, could have torn my hair and screamed, and made him face his choice alone. But not in this one. He would sail to Troy and I would follow, even into death. “Yes,” I whipsered. “Yes.”
Relief broke in his face, and he reached for me. I let him hold me, let him press us length to length so close that nothing might fit between us.
Tears came, and fell. Above us, the constellations spun and the moon paced her weary course. We lay stricken and sleepless as the hours passed.”
(Song of Achilles Quotes)

18. “Name one hero who was happy.”
I considered. Heracles went mad and killed his family; Theseus lost his bride and father; Jason’s children and new wife were murdered by his old; Bellerophon killed the Chimera but was crippled by the fall from Pegasus’ back.
“You can’t.” He was sitting up now, leaning forward.
“I can’t.”
“I know. They never let you be famous AND happy.” He lifted an eyebrow. “I’ll tell you a secret.”
“Tell me.” I loved it when he was like this.
“I’m going to be the first.” He took my palm and held it to his. “Swear it.”
“Why me?”
“Because you’re the reason. Swear it.”
“I swear it,” I said, lost in the high color of his cheeks, the flame in his eyes.
“I swear it,” he echoed.
We sat like that a moment, hands touching. He grinned.
“I feel like I could eat the world raw.”
(Song of Achilles Quotes)

19. “This was a man who moved like the gods were watching: every gesture he made was upright and correct. There was no one else it could be but Hector”

20. “Homer survives because his poetry was outstanding, yes, but also because he’s been passed down by so many by luminaries like Vergil and Ovid, Shakespeare, James Joyce, and Margaret Atwood, but also by countless others. I wanted to do my part for these tremendous stories.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

21. “There was more to say, but for once we did not say it. There would be other times for speaking, tonight and tomorrow and all the days after that. He let go of my hand.”

22. “Part of the tragedy of their characters is how much they have to offer and how little of that they get to realize.”

23. “I have done it,” she says. At first I do not understand. But then I see the tomb, and the marks she has made on the stone. A C H I L L E S, it reads. And beside it, P A T R O C L U S.
“Go,” she says. “He waits for you.”
(Song of Achilles Quotes)

In the darkness, two shadows, reaching through the hopeless, heavy dusk. Their hands meet, and light spills in a flood like a hundred golden urns pouring out of the sun.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

24. “Those seconds, half seconds, that the line of our gaze connected, were the only moment in my day that I felt anything at all. The sudden swoop of my stomach, the coursing anger. I was like a fish eyeing the hook.”

Achilles was looking at me. “Your hair never quite lies flat, here.” He touched my head, just behind my ear. “I don’t think I’ve ever told you how I like it.”

My scalp prickled where his fingers had been. “You haven’t,” I said.

I should have.” His hand drifted down to the vee at the base of my throat, drew softly across the pulse. “What about this? Have I told you what I think of this, just here?”

No,” I said.

This surely then.” His hand moved across the muscles of my chest; my skin warmed beneath it. “Have I told you of this?”

That you have told me.” My breath caught a little as I spoke.

And what of this?” His hand lingered over my hips, drew down the line of my thigh. “Have I spoken of it?”

You have.”

And this? Surely I would not have forgotten this.” His cat’s smile. “Tell me I did not.”

You did not.”

There is this too.” His hand was ceaseless now. “I know I have told you of this.”

I closed my eyes. “Tell me again,” I said.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

25. “In the darkness, two shadows, reaching through the hopeless, heavy dusk. Their hands meet, and light spills in a flood like a hundred golden urns pouring out of the sun.”

26. “Indeed, he seemed utterly unaware of his effect on the boys around him.”

27.

Song of Achilles Quotes

“He smiled, and his face was like the sun.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

28. “Peleus acknowledged this. “Yet other boys will be envious that you have chosen such a one. What will you tell them?”
“I will tell them nothing.” The answer came with no hesitation, clear and crisp. “It is not for them to say what I will do.”

29. “Even here, behind the darkness of my eyelids, I cannot name the thing I hope for.”

30.

Song of Achilles Quotes

“There are no bargains between lion and men. I will kill you and eat you raw.”

31. “He is half of my soul, as the poets say.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

32. “Will I feel his ashes as they fall against mine? I think of the snowflakes on Pelion, cold on our red cheeks. The yearning for him is like hunger, hollowing me. Somewhere his soul waits, but it is nowhere I can reach. Bury us, and mark our names above. Let us be free. His ashes settle among mine, and I feel nothing.”

33. “The word I use is hubris. Our word for arrogance that scrapes the stars, for violence and towering rage as ugly as the gods.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

34. “He is a weapon, a killer. Do not forget it. You can use a spear as a walking stick, but that will not change its nature.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

35. “He is lost in Agamemnon and Odysseus’ wily double meanings, their lies and games of power. They have confounded him, tied him to a stake and baited him. I stroke the soft skin of his forehead. I would untie him if I could. If he would let me.”

36. “And perhaps you should get some new stories, so I don’t fucking kill myself of boredom.”

37. “That is — your friend?”
“Philtatos,” Achilles replied, sharply. Most beloved.”
(Song of Achilles Quotes)

38. ‘I almost did not come, because I did not want to believe it.’ He smiled. ‘Now I know how to make you follow me everywhere.”

39. “When he died, all things soft and beautiful and bright would be buried with him.”

40. “. . .nothing could eclipse the stain of his dirty, mortal mediocrity.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

41. “I stopped watching for ridicule, the scorpion’s tail hidden in his words. He said what he meant; he was puzzled if you did not. Some people might have mistaken this for simplicity. But is it not a sort of genius to cut always to the heart?”

42. “Perhaps he simply assumed: a bitterness of habit, of boy after boy trained for music and medicine, and unleashed for murder.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

43. “Chiron had said once that nations were the most foolish of mortal inventions. “No man is worth more than another, wherever he is from.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

44. “and when he moved it was like watching oil spread across a lake, smooth and fluid, almost vicious”

45. “I began to suprise Achilles, calling out to these men as we walked through the camp. I was always gratified at how they would raise a hand in return, point to a scar that had healed over well.
After they were gone, Achilles would shake his head. ‘I don’t know how you remember them all. I swear they look the same to me.’
I would laugh and point them out again. ‘That’s Sthenelus, Diomedes’ charioteer. And that’s Podarces, whose brother was the first to die, remember?’
‘There are too many of them,’ he said. ‘It’s simpler if they just remember me.”

46. “A surety rose in me, lodged in my throat. I will never leave him. It will be this, always, for as long as he will let me.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

47. “And as we swam, or played, or talked, a feeling would come. It was almost like fear, in the way it filled me, rising in my chest. It was almost like tears, in how swiftly it came. But it was neither of those, buoyant where they were heavy, bright where they were dull.”

48. “This, I say. This and this. The way his hair looked in summer sun. His face when he ran. His eyes, solemn as an owl at lessons. This and this and this. So many moments of happiness, crowding forward.”

49. “Perhaps such things pass for virtue among the gods. But how is there glory in taking life? We die so easily. Would you make him another Pyrrhus? Let the stories of him be something more.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

50. “They leaned towards him, like flowers to the sun, drinking in his luster. It was as Odysseus had said: he had light enough to make heroes of them all.”

51. “Later, Achilles pressed close for a final, drowsy whisper. ‘If you have to go, you know I will go with you.’ We slept.”

52. “He did not fear ridicule, he had never known it.”

53. “I feel like I could eat the world raw.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

54. “His fingers touched the strings and all my thoughts were displaced. The sound was pure and sweet as water, bright as lemons. It was like no music I had ever heard before. It had warmth as a fire does, a texture and weight like polished ivory. It buoyed and soothed at once.”

55. “I think: this is what I will miss. I think: I will kill myself rather than miss it. I think: how long do we have?”

56. “The sound was pure and sweet as water, bright as lemons.”

57. “The greater the monument, the greater the man. The stone the Greeks quarry for his grave is huge and white, stretching up to the sky. A C H I L L E S, it reads. It will stand for him, and speak to all who pass: he lived and died, and lives again in memory.”

58. “We reached for each other, and I thought of how many nights I had lain awake loving him in silence.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

59. “This is how I think of us, when I remember our nights at Troy: Achilles and I beside each other, Phoinix smiling and Automedon stuttering through the punch lines of jokes, and Briseis with her secret eyes and quick, spilling laughter.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

60. “Later Achilles would play the lyre, as Chiron and I listened. My mother’s lyre. He had brought it with him. ‘I wish I had known,’ I said, the first day when he showed it to me.

61. “Our goddess of the moon is gifted with magic, with power over the dead. She could banish the dreams, if she wished. She did not.”

62. “Achilles makes a sound like choking. “There are no bargains between lions and men. I will kill you and eat you raw.” His spearpoint flies in a dark whirlwind, bright as the evening-star, to catch the hollow at Hector’s throat.”

63. “Odysseus inclines his head. “True. But fame is a strange thing. Some men gain glory after they die, while others fade. What is admired in one generation is abhorred in another.” He spread his broad hands. “We cannot say who will survive the holocaust of memory. Who knows?” He smiles. “Perhaps one day even I will be famous. Perhaps more famous than you.”

64. “Maybe her gods are kinder than ours, and she will find rest”

65. “He collects my ashes himself, though this is a women’s duty. He puts them in a golden urn, the finest in our camp, and turns to the watching Greeks.
‘When I am dead, I charged you to mingle our ashes and bury us together.”
(Song of Achilles Quotes)

66. “I turn to look at him. His face is smooth, without the blotches and spots that have begun to afflict the other boys. His features are drawn with a firm hand; nothing awry or sloppy, nothing too large—all precise, cut with the sharpest of knives. And yet the effect itself is not sharp. He turns and finds me looking at him. “What?” he says. “Nothing.” I can smell him. The oils that he uses on his feet, pomegranate and sandalwood; the salt of clean sweat; the hyacinths we had walked through, their scent crushed against our ankles. Beneath it all is his own smell, the one I go to sleep with, the one I wake up to. I cannot describe it. It is sweet, but not just. It is strong but not too strong. Something like almond, but that still is not right. Sometimes, after we have wrestled, my own skin smells like it. He puts a hand down, to lean against. The muscles in his arms curve softly, appearing and disappearing as he moves. His eyes are deep green on mine. My pulse jumps, for no reason I can name. He has looked at me a thousand thousand times, but there is something different in this gaze, an intensity I do not know. My mouth is dry, and I can hear the sound of my throat as I swallow. He watches me. It seems that he is waiting. I shift, an infinitesimal movement, towards him. It is like the leap from a waterfall. I do not know, until then, what I am going to do. I lean forward and our lips land clumsily on each other. They are like the fat bodies of bees, soft and round and giddy with pollen. I can taste his mouth—hot and sweet with honey from dessert. My stomach trembles, and a warm drop of pleasure spreads beneath my skin. More.”

67. “As if he heard me, he smiled, and his face was like the sun.”

68. “I will never leave him. It will be this, always, for as long as he will let me.”

69. “An ugly man, with a face sharp like a weasel and a habit of running a flickering tongue over his lips before he speaks. But most ugly of all are his eyes: blue, bright blue. When people see them, they flinch. Such things are freakish. He is lucky he was not killed at birth.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

70. “Chiron had said once that nations were the most foolish of mortal inventions. “No man is worth more than another, wherever he is from.”

But what if he is your friend?” Achilles had asked him, feet kicked up on the wall of the rose-quartz cave. “Or your brother? Should you treat him the same as a stranger?”

You ask a question that philosophers argue over,” Chiron had said. “He is worth more to you, perhaps. But the stranger is someone else’s friend and brother. So which life is more important?”

We had been silent. We were fourteen, and these things were too hard for us. Now that we are twenty-seven, they still feel too hard.

He is half of my soul, as the poets say. He will be dead soon, and his honor is all that will remain. It is his child, his dearest self. Should I reproach him for it? I have saved Briseis. I cannot save them all.

I know, now, how I would answer Chiron. I would say: there is no answer. Whichever you choose, you are wrong.”

71. “There is no law that gods must be fair, Achilles,” Chiron said. “And perhaps it is the greater grief, after all, to be left on earth when another is gone. Do you think?”
“Perhaps,” Achilles admitted.
I listened and did not speak. Achilles’ eyes were bright in the firelight, his face drawn sharply by the flickering shadows. I would know it in dark or disguise, I told myself. I would know it even in madness.”

72. “There is no honour in betraying your friends.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

73. “If I had had words to speak such a thing, I would have. But there were none that seemed big enough for it, to hold that swelling truth. As if he had heard me, he reached for my hand. I did not need to look; his fingers were etched into my memory, slender and petal-veined, strong and quick and never wrong. “Patroclus,” he said. He was always better with words than I.”

74. “He knew, but it was not enough. The sorrow was so large it threatened to tear through my skin. When he died, all things swift and beautiful and bright would be buried with him.”

75. “The flames surround me, and I feel myself slipping further from life, thinning to only the faintest shiver in the air. I yearn for the darkness and silence of the underworld, where I can rest.”

76. “Her mouth was a gash of red, like the torn-open stomach of a sacrifice, bloody and oracular. Behind it her teeth shone sharp and white as bone.”

77. “I conjure the boy I knew. Achilles, grinning as the figs blur in his hands. His green eyes laughing into mine. Catch, he says. Achilles, outlined against the sky, hanging from a branch over the river.”

78. “There is this too.” His hand was ceaseless now. “I know I have told you of this.”

I closed my eyes. “Tell me again,” I said.”

79. 111. “The thick warmth of his sleepy breath against my ear. If you have to go, I will go with you. My fears forgotten in the golden harbor of his arms.

The memories come, and come. She listens, staring into the grain of the stone. We are all there, goddess and mortal and the boy who was both.”

80. “It is right to seek peace for the dead. You and I both know there is no peace for those who live after.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

81. “This and this and this.”

82. “I know, now, how I would answer Chiron. I would say: there is no answer. Whichever you choose, you are wrong.” (Song of Achilles Quotes)

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