• 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. Bacchus in Ovid's Metamorphoses Book 3

    Narcissus' frustration at his inability to physically depict his love is deeply ironic. As with Pyramus and Thisbe, this failure to touch causes death, in one way or another. In the case of Narcissus, his inability to cross the boundary exhausts his mentally and physically, because pure platonic admiration does not satisfy him.

  2. Compare and Contrast the Characters of Agamemnon and Jason. Which Do You Think is ...

    He says that she lives in Greece, rather than "an uncivilised country", and had also "won renown." In saying that he would rather not have "gold in (his) house) or the skill to sing a song lovelier than Orpheus sang" unless a famous name came with it, he reveals a part of his character.

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

    Hektor's relationship and attitude toward women and children is deeply embedded in Homeric culture. Although Hector loves his family, he never loses sight of his responsibility to Troy. This is a very important characteristic of Hektor as it greatly contrasts that of Paris, who is known for not thinking before

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

    They say he is full of anger for his father's death." The main similarity in the portrayals of Clytemnestra in Electra and Agamemnon is her intellect and deviousness. Her position is vastly different in the aftermath of the murder than it was in the build-up.

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

    Euripides has created two complicated female characters and in his portrayal of them has shown no signs of his rumoured misogyny. Euripides creates one of the greatest roles for any actress to play in 'Hecabe'. The title role is not the aforementioned feet of extraordinary characterisation.

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

    Clytemnestra is loyal to Aegisthus even though they are not married. Electra is shown to be a whiney girl who wants people to see her humility. She has gone from a life of nobility, the daughter of the heroic Agamemnon, to the wife of a peasant.

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

    Aristotle looks for five main things in a character, he looks for whether the character is "good", has "propriety", is "true to life", they have "consistency" and whether they are "necessary or the probable". Looking at the main characters only I shall briefly analyse the characters.

  2. Why do you think the TV. programme The Simpsons is so successful?

    Marge takes the kids and decides to live in a motel. Now that he lives alone Homer holds a gun net meeting at the home. He appals them with his behaviour so they kick him out. He goes to get Marge back, saying that he got rid of the gun again.

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