Agamemnon does seem to see the problem in losing Achilles though. He is a great asset on the field as a warrior and a morale booster to the other men. It is a great honor to have received gifts from a
During that entire time, Achilles’ justification for wallowing in self-pity is that he has been “dishonored”. This argument becomes null and void when Agamemnon offers lavish compensation for the affront. In addition to returning Briseis, Agamemnon offers Achilles seven unfired tripods, ten gold bars, twenty burnished cauldrons, a dozen horses, seven beautiful women from Lesbos, twenty Trojan women, his daughters’ hand in marriage along with a rich dowry, and the ownership of seven populous cities. Any reasonable person would have taken the offer but not prideful, bitter Achilles. Instead he continues on with the same old rhetoric and refuses to fight. As if standing idly by while his countrymen were being killed was not enough, Achilles has his mother call in a favor to Zeus asking him to help the Trojans so that even more Greeks would die during his absence. Not only did he abandon his comrades, he actually prayed for them to die because his pride had been hurt.
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
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.
When the men of Agamemnon come to take Briseis, Achilles gives her up without a fight, despite how heavy his heart is at the thought of losing her. Once she is gone, Achilles withdraws from his companions and sobs, praying to his mother to understand why he is treated the way he is, why he isn’t treated with respect. His mother, hearing his laments, comes to console him, telling him that she will visit Zeus and try to sway him towards helping the Trojans and destroying the Achaeans, to make them pay for disrespecting the son of Thetis.
Both Creon of Sophocles’ Antigone and Achilles of Homer’s The Iliad end up allowing the body of their enemy a proper burial. During the time following the death of Hector, Achilles is in a position very similar to that which Creon deals with in Antigone. Both men show similar flaws, and face similar struggles. The difference between the two men is only subtly discernible until the telling moment when each man is faced with pressure to change his stance on the fate of the fallen warrior. Each man’s initial reaction is quite telling of his character, and the motives behind each man’s decision (although the motives are debatable) also help to expose his true nature. In the end, there seems to be a quality within each man which lies above
Agamemnon’s rage, cowardliness and bad leadership also plays some parts of his refusal. Just like Helen, Bresies also had an effect on Achilles to judgement to refusing Agamemnon’s ransom. He was in love with her and Agamemnon dishonors him and takes her away and that makes Achilles angry. In the Iliad, beautiful women are the main reason to war and rage. Achilles has nothing to lose because “son of Atreus” (9.369) already took his honor, reputation and his Bresies. Even if Achilles “let[s] [his] heart-devouring anger go!” (9.316) for his companions that would never restore what he already lost. “Obviously, all religions fall far short of their own ideals.” (Ernest Becker, The Denial of
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 ease with which he could dispatch his enemy seemed to give Achilles pleasure, not the wealth and power which came with ruling his small kingdom. His war-brides would have undoubtedly given him the pleasurable attention he needed, but unfortunately even this luxury was denied him. The circumstances surrounding Chryseis and Briseis (two war-brides captured in an attack on a town allied with Troy) led to the unsteady relationship between Achilles and Agamemnon. When Agamemnon took Achilles' war-bride Briseis for himself, Achilles withdrew himself from battle. The result of Achilles' withdrawal was that Patroclus went into battle posing as Achilles in order to bolster the spirit of the Achaean army. This unfortunately led the death of Patroclus. This only helped to
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
In The Iliad, the first of many quarrels between Agamemnon and Achilles is ignited by Briseis and Chryseis. Because Agamemnon is forced to relinquish his prize,
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.
Agamemnon states, “The girl I will not give back; …far from her own land, and being in bed as my companion…” (1.29-31) He is simply the cruelest and abominable character in the Iliad; telling a daughter’s father that he will never see her again and that she will be his partner in bed until death. The lack of compassion needed to say such a thing to a grieving father remains incomprehensible. He also said, “Never let me find you again, old sir, near our hollow ships, neither lingering now, nor coming again after.” (6.106-120) He explains to the father that if he ever sees him again, he will kill him on sight. Agamemnon’s strength and leadership abilities could promote him to be a great leader, but he fights for the wrong