Who was Achilles?

In Tennyson’s famous dramatic monologue “Ulysses”, there is an allusion to Achilles. Achilles’ mother was Thetis, a sea goddess and his father was Peleus, a mortal. Achilles accompanied Ulysses and other Greek heroes to the Trojan War to rescue Helen and restore the prestige of the Greek. He was the greatest hero of the Trojan War. He was a fierce fighter, cruel killer, and a devoted friend. His wrath is the subject of Homer’s Iliad. He mercilessly killed Hector, the chief commander of the Trojan side in the war of Troy. But, Paris killed him by shooting an arrow at his heel which had been the only vulnerable point of his body.

In ‘’Ulysses’’, Tennyson tells his mariners that in their new adventure they may die. In that case, they will reach the Happy Isle which is a heavenly place where the virtuous people are allowed to live after death. Ulysses thinks that they have lived virtuous life on earth and so, they deserve the place where heroes like Achilles live.