The War Versus Oneself
During the time period in which the Iliad took place there was a great emphasis put on masculinity. Five specific qualities were required to obtain the venerable title of a hero. Firstly, one must be born unto noble birth. For instance, a man born from the social status of a servant would cause the man to be immediately looked down on for his rankings among his higher status social counterparts. Secondly, the hero must attain strength. Without strength, the man cannot prove himself victorious throughout battles causing him either death or the unthinkable characteristic of humiliation which in turn causes the man more pain than death itself. Thirdly, a man must encompass courage. If a soldier was frightened going …show more content…
Agamemnon sees himself in control and plans to stay in control. Lastly, it is certain that both Achilles and Agamemnon attain power. Agamemnon 's power lies in his control over his country while Achilles power rests in his physical strength and courage. Though Achilles and Agamemnon share similarities and differences both of their personalities strive for the same goal which inevitably is the glory of war.
As a result, these characters follow the heroic code which in turn will bring the glory of war. In book nine Achilles is faced with a dilemma between the glory of war and a life of peace and longevity. When Achilles is tempted to take on a life of easiness he knows in his conscious that his fate does not lay there. Thus, the importance of the heroic code tempts him back to his destined position. In book nine Achilles makes it clear despite his anger that he will return. He states, "I will not think of arming for bloody war again, not till the son of wise King Priam, dazzling Hector batters all the way to the Myrmidion ships and shelters, slaughtering Argives, gutting the halls with fire" (9.795-798). It is evident, regardless of Achilles ' anger towards Agamemnon, that he feels the heroic code luring him back where he is most content. Conversely, Agamemnon 's final goal is also to achieve the glory of war regardless of the fact that he will not tempt to risk his life. When riches are obtained it is inevitable
Achilles, on the other hand, can almost be fully comprehended from his initial disagreement with Agamemnon. Agamemnon's unreasonable actions seem to justify Achilles' refusal to engage his men in battle, primarily, because his pride will not allow him to act. Achilles believes himself to be the most important man in the army and the injury cannot be forgiven. Even when a diplomatic escape is contrived by Agamemnon, Achilles sees his position as unchanged-doubtlessly, Odysseus would have relented but Achilles is unable to forget past grievances.
The great talents that Achilles’ possesses cause him to become much admired and well known by both the Greeks and the Trojans. He begins to believe all the good things people are say and becomes an arrogant, child-like, selfish person which all mark Achilles’ hubris part of his behavior cycle. Achilles shows his arrogance when he gets angry with Agamemnon for him wanting take his prize of honor, which Achilles worked very hard to get. Because of this, Achilles begins to lose his capability to think straight and weigh all the factors in situations, and withdraws himself from the battle. Later on after Achilles overcomes the death of his best friend and regains back his courage and pride, Achilles kills Hector and thinks he is invincible for doing the great deed he did. Achilles fought Hector for honor over all else and performed the death of Hector almost as a duty and feels proud of himself for doing so. Before he kills Hector, Achilles declares, “I will go forth to slay Hector, who killed the man the I loved… Until then, may I win great fame and glory, and may every Trojan realize that the greatest of the Greeks no longer remains apart from battle”(145).
In book nine of the Iliad, Homer portrays Achilles refusal to Agamemnon as the circumstance of the Greek world’s structure being out of order. A world of system, where many warriors risk their lives in seek of honor. “Swift runner” (9.638) Achilles is conscious and aware that the Greek realm is stagnant and heading to its own doom. Achilles fights hard in battles in the name of “mighty king” (9.368) Agamemnon and in returns gets nothing. In addition, he also deeply feels the nihilism of the Greek culture and its order. Bernard Knox writes, “a pattern fixed from the beginning and not subject to change or on the other hand, the complete freedom and meaningless anarchy of an unpredictable universe” (Knox 40). Knox relates how uncertain universes
From the discussion about book nine of the Iliad, the reasoning behind Achilles’ actions was discussed and the theme of freedom vs. fate was discovered. Book nine is considered to be the climax of the Iliad because it is a turning point in the war and the Greeks realize that they need Achilles. Agamemnon offers a multitude of gifts and gives a rather lame apology in the hopes of Achilles returning, however Achilles refuses the gifts. The Greeks all questioned Achilles’ mindset for they did not understand why he would refuse the gifts and glory offered to him. Considering how in these times, the Greeks associate honor with material objects, Achilles has just denied himself an opportunity to receive honor and a legacy. He became an outsider among
Angry and calling Agamemnon a hypocrite, he states, “I hate it like I hate hell / the man who says one thing and think another” (168). Strategically beginning his soliloquy with a hostile accusation sets the tone for the rest of the speech. This tone and structure is harsh, hyperbolic, and jumps between the two arguments from which he bases his response: “He cheated me, wronged me. Never again” (170), Achilles declares, focusing on the loss of honor and placing blame on Agamemnon. Just 29 lines after, however, Achilles switches his focus to the other reason for leaving. “Nothing is worth my life, not all the riches / they say Troy held before the Greeks came…” (171). This quick shift of focus is similar to a rant going back and forth between arguments. His mind is not balancing on one thought, but rather driven by emotions and rhetorical questions. For example, he brings up, “why do the Greeks have to fight the Trojans?” “Why did Agamemnon lead the army to Troy if not for the sake of fair-haired Helen?” “And now he thinks he’s going to win me back?” (169). This tone and these rhetorical questions serve to exaggerate and humanize the argument. Achilles can only deal with so much—he is only human, after all, and must be treated like one. He is not Agamemnon’s war puppet. The meaning and purpose for Achilles’ rant is not muddled in the harsh and edgy speech; it is simply shown in various ways. He will not fight for Agamemnon and is making it
Achilles questions himself, "Should he draw the long sharp sword slung at his hip, thrust through the ranks and kill Agamemnon now?--or check his rage and beat his fury down?" (108). Here, Hera has Athena intervene to keep Achilles from killing Agamemnon, which shows how the gods control Achilles' destiny. The argument between Achilles and Agamemnon clearly shows that the two men have different opinions about the power of the gods, what is holy or unholy, and what is proper treatment of other men. These differences are one source of Achilles' rage.
In ancient Greece, it was crucial that men proved their masculinity in order to uphold their worth and earn them a place in social establishments. An important aspect of human life is a man’s masculine identity and how it plays a role in society. However with this idea of masculinity came limitations that were not to be crossed. Ancient Greek epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, both function to provide their own view on masculinity in society through the reverse sex similes. In the Iliad the crucial role of Achilles as a warrior and his association with maternal protection, as represented through it’s reverse sex maternal similes, ultimately proves problematic. This intrinsic part of man to fight on the battlefield to win timê and kleos is ultimately
Warriors of ancient Greece were considered heroes by following the Heroic Code of excellence. They achieved this by acquiring a kleos; establishing fame, glory and a positive reputation. It was not an easy task to become a Grecian hero. Building and maintaining kleos meant that a warrior must be brave and strong, be “a speaker of words and a doer of deeds.” The solider had to protect his friends and harm his enemies, respect the gods and his elders, and most of all value his honor over his life. To die in battle, and be spoken of after death was the most important act of honor for a hero. The Greek tragedy, Iliad, attributed to Homer, portrays Achilles as the most gallant hero of the Athenian army. The story tells of Achilles, who develops into the greatest hero of the Trojan War. While the end of the end of the poem does portray Achilles as the solider that the story foretells throughout the poem he does not act like that. Many times in the story Achilles actions are perceived as unheroic but ultimately they shape the course of the few weeks of the Trojan Wars described in the Iliad, the Achaean’s final victory at Troy and his emergence as a hero.
This just emphasizes how Achilles was not just concerned about his soldiers and showing face, but he was more driven by his rage and his grudge against Agamemnon for what he did to him.
The Iliad: Book I, is about the conflict between Achilles and Agamemnon in the beginning of the Trojan War. It shows how vigorous Achilles’ rage was and that he is no one to mess with. The book states “Peleus’ son Achilles, murderous, doomed”. This shows his fury in just a few words. Achilles was a Greek hero who was the son of a Goddess named Thetis. He was an incredible solder; brave, violent and godlike. However, Agamemnon was the commander of the Achaean Army. He was greedy, aggressive and selfish. He was described as “the most grasping man alive”. He absolutely hated Achilles. I feel that he was jealous of how respected Achilles was among the ranks in the army because of his superior skills in the field of battle. Agamemnon claimed Chryseis as his prize, after sacking a Trojan town. Chryseis was a daughter of a Priest of Apollo, Chryses. He offered an enormous ransom to get his daughter back. At first Agamemnon didn’t want it but the people round him persuaded him that it would be best to let her go so they could be released from the plague that Apollo put on them. Agamemnon then poised to Achilles that he is going to steal Achilles prize, Briseis. This is when Achilles’ rage shows at its best. He nearly draws his sword to kill Agamemnon but he is stopped by the goddess, Athena.
Once Achilles decides to go after Hector to seek revenge for his fallen comrades death, he seals his fate of living a short life full of glory, rather than going back home to live a quiet, uneventful life in peace. This shows a dramatic reversal in Achilles character as his desire to defend his loved ones overcomes his pride from defying Agamemnon. In honor of Patroclus, Achilles comes out from the Achaean ships and
Mortality, by its very nature, causes men's lives to be cut short at their primes.The Fates cut our lives short at any time, so the Greeks must have an example, a model mortal, to follow so as to make the "most of their lives."A model mortal is one who lives his life accumulating the most honor and glory: "he pressed for battle now where men win glory" (4: 259).By strictly adhering to the honor/heroic code, a mortal can raise himself to become the model mortal. This hero, Diomedes, is the model mortal of the Greeks.
The Iliad opens in the predicament of the Greeks who have somehow incurred the wrath of the gods. It is here that Agamemnon, supreme commander of the Grecian army, demand that Achilles give up his “prize” (Briseis) to replace his own “prize” (Chrysies) which he has to give up to appease the gods. Agamemnon has to
This decision of prideful betrayal brings many casualties to the Achaean army. Once Agamemnon apologetically offers Achilles many valuable gifts along with the return of his war prize, Achilles refuses. In this rejection, Achilles is putting his own animosity toward Agamemnon above the needs of his fellow Achaeans. His friend Phoenix tells him to think of his diminishing honor, but Achilles answers, “…what do I need with honor such as that ?/ … It degrades you to curry favor with [Agamemnon],/ and I will hate you for it, I who love you./ It does you proud to stand by me, my friend,/ to attack the man who attacks me…”(p 147). Not only does Achilles reject honor, but he egotistically asks his father figure, Phoenix, to give up his in order to take his side.
Eventually, Achilles refused to fight in the Trojan War because of Agamemnon’s dishonor. He asked his mother to help him punish the Greek; he wanted to see the army to suffer; and he wanted the Greek to be killed. All of those happened just to protect his excessive pride. He was only concerned about his honor, but the Greek or the lives of others (Homer 240). His selfishness and egotism was illustrate best when the Greeks asked him to return to the army. After being defeated by the Trojan, King Agamemnon had to ask Achilles to go back and fight for the sake of the army. Achilles decided to reject the offer, and abandoned the need of the Greek. He reasoned how his pride was not honored; how many of the battles that he has won; and how good he