Monsacré, Hélène. 2018. The Tears of Achilles. Trans. Nicholas J. Snead. Introduction by Richard P. Martin. Hellenic Studies Series 75. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_MonsacreH.The_Tears_of_Achilles.2018.
III.5. The Weeping Body of Achilles
The Body and Tears
Similarities in methods of intervention
The fusion of tears with the major stages of life
In this complex sequence, the last major speech by Achilles, it is possible to identify several layers of meaning.  First, there is the parallel between the stories of Niobe and Priam. The anger of Apollo is the root cause of the death of Niobe’s children, just as Achilles’ anger causes Hector’s death. If the gods prevent the funerals of the Niobids, whose bloody bodies lie dead, Achilles for his part refuses to return Hector’s body and grows more obstinate every day. Niobe weeps nine days for her children before they are buried by the gods themselves; Priam asks Achilles for a truce for Hector’s funeral preparations—nine days to weep for him and one day to bury him—and Achilles himself places the body on the bier (Iliad 24.589). And finally, Niobe ruminates on her sorrow (kēdea pessei), and Priam does the same (kēdea muria pessō, 24.639). Grief has the properties of a food: it is cooked and digested (pessō). 
Achilles, seated, and Priam, crouched at his feet, cry at length, the one for Patroclus and Peleus, the other for Hector. Once Achilles has worn out his sorrow, the desire for tears leaves, at the same time, his heart and his body. The fading of the desire to cry sets the body in motion: right away (autika, 24.515) the hero passes from a prostrate to a standing position. Though verse 514 may well have been athetized by Aristarchus, this does not seem to pose a problem. We have seen, in effect, that flash, that fatigue, that anger seep into the body of the warrior;  on the contrary, the fact that sobbing is incorporated deep inside the hero’s limbs confirms our hypothesis. For the warrior, to live out suffering in and through the body is one of the signs of his heroic character. It is this coinciding of emotional pain and its physical expression that controls the gestures of tears.
In a sense, Achilles merges with the corpse of Patroclus: he is in the same position, he disfigures himself (with dust); he tears out his hair, a symbol of his youth—and therefore a symbol of life  —as if he were participating momentarily in a state of death.