• 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. 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.

  2. 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.

  1. Was Julius Caesar an effective leader?

    Caesar had come from a fallen family and this served to his detriment. Pompey was a man who shied away from the political scene; unlike Caesar he was not interested in becoming the foremost political man of Rome. Pompey did not upset the status quo, he had fought for Rome

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

    Clytemnestra's response to the news of Orestes' death is also unsettling. She prays that Orestes might never return to disrupt her life, but her reaction to his death is not one of unqualified delight. Her expression of maternal feelings, however brief, points a level of human decency and undermines Electra's villainous depiction of her.

  1. 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.

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

    "My honoured mother, lift not to me the kindly sweet wine, for fear you stagger my strength and make me forget my courage". This idea is reiterated in Hektor and Andromache's meeting. "I would feel deep shame before the Trojans, and the Trojan women with trailing garments, if like a

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

    All is not as it seems. Underneath her pitiful self, she has not consummated her marriage with the peasant and the audience have been made aware of this fact. As I have previously mentioned, the chorus are on her side, they are female.

  2. Compare the portrayal of Clytaemnestra in both Aeschylus’ Agamemnon and Euripides’ Electra. Which ...

    In Agamemnon, we are aware that Clytaemnestra takes great pride in her ability to rule over her people as well as a man, and admonishes the Chorus by saying 'You speak as to some thoughtless woman: you are wrong'. Indeed, Clytaemnestra had won praise earlier on in the play from

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