The Song of Achilles Quotes

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The Song of Achilles The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
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The Song of Achilles Quotes Showing 1-30 of 268
“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.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“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.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“And perhaps it is the greater grief, after all, to be left on earth when another is gone.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“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.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“When he died, all things soft and beautiful and bright would be buried with him.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“We were like gods at the dawning of the world, & our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“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.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“There are no bargains between lion and men. I will kill you and eat you raw.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“I am made of memories.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“He smiled, and his face was like the sun.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“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.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“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.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“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."

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.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“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.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“I feel like I could eat the world raw.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“Chiron had said once that nations were the most foolish of mortal inventions. "No man is worth more than another, wherever he is from.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“He is half of my soul, as the poets say.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“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.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“Name one hero who was happy.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“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.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“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?”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“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.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“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.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“That is — your friend?"
"Philtatos," Achilles replied, sharply. Most beloved.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“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?”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“I will never leave him. It will be this, always, for as long as he will let me.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“Achilles’ eyes lift. They are bloodshot and dead. “I wish he had let you all die.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“Bring him back to me,' he told them.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“You can use a spear for a walking stick, but it will not change its nature.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
“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.”
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles

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