How Does Homer Use The Effectiveness Of Ajax 's Speech

1723 WordsOct 21, 20157 Pages
I believe that Homer uses the effectiveness of Ajax’s speech, specifically Ajax’s similarities to Achilles and the speech’s focus on the Greek value of timē (one’s honor or how one is perceived by others), to reveal the motivations and nature of Achilles. In book IX of the Iliad, Ajax, known primarily for his brute strength and martial prowess, delivers the speech Achilles finds most compelling. Conversely, Odysseus, although the most adept orator sent, is the least effective in convincing Achilles to rejoin the war. In my opinion, this is because while Odysseus uses a well-reasoned and debatably superior argument, Ajax, as a character, is similar to Achilles and is able to more effectively direct his argument towards Achilles’ defining characteristics. In this paper, I will argue that Homer characterizes Achilles as an individual who is guided primarily by his emotions and his goal of gaining timē and kleos (immortal glory). I will do this by analyzing the more successful speech of Ajax and comparing it to the ineffective speech given by Odysseus. First I will compare the personalities of both Ajax and Odysseus to Achilles, and how the effectiveness of Ajax’s speech further reveals Achilles’ personality and motivations. Secondly, I will discuss how Ajax’s speech effectively plays towards Achilles’ sense of timē, showing the value Achilles places on it. Finally I will discuss how the differences in the structure of the arguments used by Ajax and Odysseus illuminate Achilles’

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