I think some people must’ve thought Achilles to be so cruel for not burying Patroclus’ body because to do so was the equivalent of keeping his soul in a state of unrest, but then I think that Achilles must’ve heard so many stories, too. He must’ve heard of how Aphrodite heard Pygmalion’s cries and turned his statue, Gala, to life so that he could be with this woman whom he loved. He must’ve heard of Orpheus and Eurydice, and how Apollo had allowed Orpheus to go to the underworld and bring Eurydice from the dead if only he would not turn back to look at her while they escaped. And maybe he heard of Psyche, too, and how she fought so valiantly and found so much favor to be with Eros once more.
And I think that’s partly why Achilles held onto Patroclus. There must’ve been a million reasons, but maybe Achilles was waiting for mercy. Maybe he was waiting for his story to turn. Maybe he was hoping for the gods to remember the age in which they were kinder and more understanding to the humans that toiled and heaved and cried beneath Olympus. There’s no patron god of mercy and second chances, but perhaps Achilles was hoping that he, holding onto his Patroclus, his everything, could incite that god or goddess into existence.
*doesn’t check bank account*
*pretends everything is fine*