Pity poor Patroclus. He should have listened to his brother-in-arms, Achilles. He should have heeded the words of his friend not to seek his own glory but, rather, wait instead for Achilles to join him in toppling Troy. Nevertheless, the unquenchable thirst for accolade and the pride that sates it drives Patroclus to attack Troy rather than to merely guard the Achaean ships as he had been instructed. His hubris earns Patroclus initial victory over the attacking Trojans but inevitable doom at the hands of Apollo and Hector before the gates of Troy.
So it is with Napoleon.
Today he rides with haughty self-assurance over the plains before Borodino. He nods with approval at what he sees or dubiously shakes his head and, “without communicating to the generals around him the profound course of ideas which guided his decisions merely gave them his final conclusions in the forms of demands.”
Tolstoy relates that Napoleon and his later historians attribute his generalship to proud genius. While it’s true that Napoleon gains another victory at Borodino — just like Patroclus wins initially at Troy — it’s also true that his victory, born of an astounding hubris, leads eventually to an ultimate destruction. So while it is Apollo who strikes Patroclus insensible on the battlefield it is, to borrow from Bonaparte’s native tongue, amour propre, that does him in.
Put away the garment of vainglory, and divest yourselves of the attire of haughtiness.
Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words