The edge to death is always really one decision and an accident away. When the warrior who defeated the Trojans and felled Hector, stood on the roof to give up his life, rethinking the tremendously painful memory of seeing his lover die in the war they had raged for 10 years, Achilles felt the need to end his life ever so victoriously.
Gang of Youths really took it upon themselves to direct the narrative of trying to save Achilles from falling from the roof. Hence the title of the song, Achilles Come Down.
The Nihilistic decisiveness that Achilles came to, seeing his beloved killed by Hector, he avenged his death and then decided to die a war hero and a lover.
Commencement of the song
Through the enthralling cello and the repetitive tunes, the song has a Dark Academia and Greek mythology baked right into the feels of it.
The lines somewhere contradict each other one as the narrator’s thoughts that he says out loud, convincing Achilles to come down that his life has meaning still, that he should survive despite the hardships, to triumph over life like he did over kingdoms.
Equally, Achilles’ intrusive thoughts make him decide to fall with the interruptions of the onlooker begging for him to come down. Again, the narrative of parallel voices of our head, and the vulnerability in Achilles are shown.
Despite being the son of Thetis, the sea nymph, he was drowned in the River Styx, to gain immortality, apart from his heel which his mother held to pull him back up. An immortal warrior submitting to the grief of the loss of the beloved is where the lyrics blare, “How the most dangerous thing is to love”.
Dissection of the lyrics
The speaker takes the voices of Patroclus, his lover, and Agamemnon, his rival but on the same side to defeat the Trojans, Hector, as well as Apollo who sided with the greeks and is instrumental in the killing of Patroclus.
The intrusive thoughts, negative and pessimistic words that belittle Achilles, words that give him doubt, but it all comes back to the thought of living on despite the willingness to not because the life that is lived is rather than giving up won’t be living in vain.
All his victories would be meaningless if he gave up and surrendered to love, but then again, it is the greatest weapon to control one’s mind, thought process, and decisions.
Some lines of the lyrics are a direct calling out to all those who feel alone, giving them a sense of validation. Lines like “hurt and grieve but don’t suffer alone” and “some of us love you”.
These constant words of reassurance hit the listener in the right feels with the background of the ancient retro music that sends chills with them of life and death in this song.
Achilles Come Down and comparative literary examples
“Engage with pain as a motive” is the indicative line that explains the concept of survival of the fittest. It is the engagement with pain and struggles that makes the survivor feel life in the rawest form.
Death is just a decision and a mistake away but to live through the pain is bravery and the survival instinct of the mortals. This might be hazy to Achilles, being an immortal warrior who could be brave in front of weapons and battles but could not endure the pain of loss and grief that life is made of.
The constant face-off with challenges, changes, and pain is what constitutes life, even though Gods “find music centred in a doleful song”, Tennyson in his poem writes, that Gods find entertainment and melody in the doleful song that is life. But it is the gift of mortality, the eventual ageing, and then decay and regeneration as the cycle of life.
Achilles is one of the strongest and bravest warriors celebrated for his might, who when thrashed on the face of the loss of a lover is bent on giving up on his life, which the song keeps reassuring that he should come down from the roof, and choose to live instead.
This is the part where we question the concept of immortality if it really is a ruse to a life of grandeur and if it really is the most inhumane way to live, to feel closer to God. A strikingly contrasting character who is different from Achilles is Odysseus, the hero of The Odyssey.
The song ends with the verses,
“How the most dangerous thing is to love
How you will heal and you’ll rise above
Crowned by an overture bold and beyond
Ah, it’s more courageous to overcome”
The dominant speaker has the last word despite the intrusive thoughts that give Achilles doubts, he is told to choose life and triumph over the sorrows as any human being should.
Him being a warrior who is ready to face death and defeat the other, should boldly accept fate as it is and overcome the sorrow that is putting him on the edge of life and death.