Persuasion in the Iliad Essays

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Persuasion in the Iliad Throughout history is an endless list of great war leaders who have conquered great masses of land. So, it must take a great speaker to convince thousands of men to leave the comforts of their homes to risk their lives in war. In Homer's, The Iliad, two great nobleman Agamemnon and Odysseus are in the position to push exhausted soldiers back on to the battlefield. Each use different approaches to excite the men, however, it is Odysseus, not King Agamemnon, who succeeds. In order to persuade these drained men, Odysseus realizes what condition the army was in, and by using prophesies as support, status did not become an issue when it came to whom the men listened to. According to this status structure,…show more content…
. . whose glory shall perish never." (1.2.324-325). Unlike Agamemnon, who's "reverse psychology" backfires on him, causing the men to go into a frenzy for home. Agamemnon does not realize the hardships these men have gone though; after nine years, of course they will be tired and anxious to go home. "And now nine years of mighty Zeus have gone by, and the timbers of our ships have rotted away . . . and far away our own wives and our young children are sitting within our halls and wait for us . . ." (1.2.134-137). Because he does not understand this, he strikes a nerve in all the men's hearts, rather than the ego. "So he spoke, and stirred up the passion in the breast of all those who were within that multitude and listened to his counsel." (1.2.142-143). Odysseus simply knows how to talk to certain people; he realizes that talking to a king is very different than talking to someone below him. "Whenever he encountered some king, or man of influence, he would stand besides him and with soft words try to restrain him . . ." (1.2.188-189). Again, Agamemnon does not comprehend that speaking to one person one way may not work on someone else. Agamemnon obviously knows how to talk down to people, as we saw with his fight with Achilles. Later, he angers Odysseus by his comments when Agamemnon randomly told Odysseus about how all he did was hang back during battles. Odysseus always makes sure to choose his words wisely, so not to offend anyone.
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