• 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. 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.

  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 ...

    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. How far does the Agamemnon reflect the Perfect Tragedy?

    He is true to life as a character, he strives to do what he thinks is right, even though he is not always right. He is consistent throughout the play and he does not have an anagnorisis before he is murdered.

  1. Bacchus in Ovid's Metamorphoses Book 3

    draws out attention to the boy's womanly hair; later on in book 3, the parallel to Bacchus will become obvious. Pentheus scorns the cult of Bacchus as effeminate and urges the dragon born warriors to defend Thebes against this degenerate invasion.

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

    "How she wastes away on a bed of sickness and keeps to the palace." Clytemnestra in the Electra is the widow of Agamemnon, the national hero and adulterer. She killed her own husband claiming that it was out of revenge for Agamemnon sacrificing their daughter, Iphagenia.

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

    Jason does not tell Medea about his marriage to Glauce until after it has happened. Medea has to lure Jason into a false sense of security and so apologises to him, telling him he is right and she wrong and that she was angry. This prevents him from suspecting her.

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