• 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?

    almost shows that she is more inferior than she seems throughout the rest of the play. She is quite necessary to the play because she is the justice of Zeus, and she is needed in the following play because the trilogy needs to move forward.

  2. Civilization and Savagery in The Iliad.

    This adds to the death, destruction and ultimately the horror of the war the Greeks and the Trojans are fighting. As well as reminding the reader of the horrors of war, Homer tells of the futility of fighting such a bloody battle.

  1. Was Julius Caesar an effective leader?

    In comparison, Caesar was addressed as such by his at the age of 41. In 67BC Pompey was given powers by the senate to tackle the pirate threat. He was given sole authority of all coastlines and the Roman navy.

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

    How a character is perceived by others in particular "close ones" is interesting as true accounts of them can be gathered. Within book six there are three particularly interesting interactions in which Hektor is involved. The first being with his mother Hecuba.

  1. Compare and Contrast the Portrayal of Clytemnestra in Agamemnon and Electra

    However, what she may well regret is the dangerous hatred her children now have for her. Clytemnestra knows herself what the fruit of such hatred is and fears for her own life, "I'm terrified; not for him [Orestes] but for myself.

  2. Euripides was accused by his contempories of being a woman hater. Why do you ...

    going thorough to have the knowledge that it was her mother who murdered him. Clytemnestra, from this play, comes across a woman who sticks by her decision and who in speech ha the capacity to justify and handle herself well.

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

    understanding of his mission his made obvious and his devotion to his destiny overrides his demands as a man and he is able to remove himself from the comfortable life in Carthage, true commitment to the task set out before him.

  2. Euripides was accused by his contempories of being a woman hater. Why do you ...

    "Do; and you'll find he will stop persecuting you." "He lives in my house; and that makes him arrogant." "There you go, kindling the old quarrel once again." Euripides shows the tension between the shallow Electra and single-minded Clytemnestra. Neither of them are heroines in any way and they are always shown in a bad light in the play,

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