• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'Describe the characters of Agamemnon and Achilleus as they are revealed in Book 1 of The Iliad. Who do you think was more to blame for their quarrel and its immediate outcome?'

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'Describe the characters of Agamemnon and Achilleus as they are revealed in Book 1 of The Iliad. Who do you think was more to blame for their quarrel and its immediate outcome?' In book 1 of the Iliad the quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles establishes their characters. We see Agamemnon and proud and authoritative yet often uncaring and uncompromising. Achilles is by contrast practical, powerful, yet deeply and sometimes dangerously passionate. Agamemnon is repeatedly unreasonable. When Chryses comes for his daughter (an entirely normal and natural request in the ancient world), Agamemnon does not listen, even though "all the other Achaians shouted their agreement". He is rude and arrogant towards the priest and "sent him... on his way", with threats and taunts about Chryseis, who will "serve my bed". When Kalchas, who has repeatedly stated that Agamemnon will not like what he says blames Agamemnon for the plague among the Greeks, Agamemnon reacts vehemently. ...read more.

Middle

"It is not you I blame," he says. Another aspect of Agamemnon's character is his arrogance. He sees women as mere objects, describing Chryseis as "to serve my bed" and "work at the loom", a girl who he prefers to his wife Klytaimestra. He is arrogant towards Chryses, a respected priest, and even to his fellow kings, Ajax and Odysseus, whose prizes he threatens to take. He arrogantly demands compensation, and never once apologises for taking Briseis. He is repeatedly insensitive towards Achilles' anger and sense of injustice and deliberately takes Briseis, so that Achilles can see "how much I am your superior". Undoubtedly these attitudes fuel the disagreement between Agamemnon and Achilles. Agamemnon is a leader, and leaders are supposed to compromise and not abuse their power. The Greeks need Achilles, yet Agamemnon's pride seems to overrule this. ...read more.

Conclusion

Yet the men respond quite differently to Nestor's words. Agamemnon makes yet more savage accusations against Achilles claiming that he wants to "rule all, to dictate all" - when all he has wanted so far is to keep possession of what is his. Achilles however responds quite reasonably. He backs down and decides "not to come to hand-fighting over the girl", accepting that "you Achaians gave her, and you shall take her away" - which is exactly what wise Nestor had asked him to do - not to "seek open quarrel with the king". Agamemnon must therefore be more to blame for the quarrel. He is leader of the Greeks. It is his duty to compromise and unify the Greeks. He never offers Achilles any form of compensation for the loss of Briseis. He ignores the wishes of his fellow Greeks and the wisdom of Nestor. Achilles may be impulsive sometimes, but it is the duty of a leader to control that impulsiveness. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Classics essays

  1. How far does the Agamemnon reflect the Perfect Tragedy?

    as true for a Perfect tragedy because she is not inferior, she is very controlling and man-like. She is quite consistent through the play, till the end where she has a slight anagnorisis that she may get killed for what she has done and the thought of more violence, this

  2. Was Julius Caesar an effective leader?

    He is an apt man to compare Caesar to. He had won his fortune and glory from his military campaigns in Africa, the East and against the pirates of the Mediterranean. In his early career, by his mid-twenties Pompey had fought alongside Sulla and been hailed as Imperator* by his troops at the age of 23.

  1. To what extent do you regard 'The Shield Of Achilles' as characteristic of Auden's ...

    Just as in 'Moon Landing', an occasional poem written to mark the landing of Apollo 11 in 1969, the moon itself has been idealised as an amazing, perfect place- 'worth going to see?

  2. Bacchus in Ovid's Metamorphoses Book 3

    on a grand scale as he toys around with the idea of confused identity. In fact, reflections, both visual and audible, cause the transformation of Narcissus and the disappearance of Echo.

  1. Is it appropriate to describe Virgil Aeneid book four as a tragedy?

    An audience waits also for Aeneas to gather himself together and set sail, as the gods do, but there is a steady calm in the everyday life of Carthage that is as lethargic and enjoyable to an audience as to Aeneas.

  2. Civilization and Savagery in The Iliad.

    (pg149, p2) This quote gives the reader a clear image of what is happening as the shaft wounds the unfortunate soldier. Homer also adds to the horrors of the war by telling us about the history of each individual solider before their death.

  1. In this essay I will be examining the characteristics of the characters Aeneas and ...

    * Provision for his men - Tying in with the responsible leader point, Aeneas is always the one to provide for his men. One of the first things he does after setting up camp on the shores of Libya is to find food for his men, "He kept on shooting until he'd triumphantly stretched on the ground seven great (deer)

  2. Compare and Contrast the characters of Hektor and Paris and draw close character analysis ...

    "Shining in his raiment and his own beauty; you would not think that he came from fighting against a man; you would think he was going rather to dance, or rested and had been dancing lately". This description is very insightful as Homer is almost suggesting that Paris is only

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work