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

In Book 9 of Homers The Iliad, Aias seemingly plays a very minor role in attempting to convince Achilleus to begin fighting again for the Greeks

Extracts from this document...


Loo Tiffany Loo Professor Janko & Dr. Rowland Classic Civilizations 101, Section 14 September 25, 2012 Achilleus: Swift-Footed and Resolute In Book 9 of Homer?s The Iliad, Aias seemingly plays a very minor role in attempting to convince Achilleus to begin fighting again for the Greeks in the Trojan War. Enraged at Agamemnon?s unwarranted attack on his pride, Achilleus refuses to fight under his command until he receives a proper apology. Agamemnon has too much pride to ask for forgiveness, and so instead he sends Odysseus, Phoinix, and Aias to offer endless riches to Achilleus to persuade him to return to war. Out of all three ambassadors, Aias?s plea is the shortest. Even so, his input seems to have the greatest effect on Achilleus. Aias, second in strength only to Achilleus (Duffy 2008), has only one distinction from Achilleus?he has no direct link to the gods. Aias knows this fact to be true, and instead of engaging in a power struggle like Agamemnon does with Achilleus, he pleads in humbled desperation, hoping that Achilleus will sympathize. Using Achilleus?s inherent nature to defend the powerless, Aias preys on Achilleus?s search for honor. Although he ultimately fails in persuading Achilleus to return to battle, Achilleus does not scorn him like he does Odysseus. ...read more.


The perceptive Aias observes this whole interaction and puppeteers an angle to slant Achilleus?s redeeming qualities that conveys him as a hypocrite. While Achilleus condemns Agamemnon for dishonoring him, Aias argues that Achilleus?s concern for his honor has corrupted his leadership: ??it is best to go back quickly and tell this story, though it is not good, to the Danaans, who sit there waiting for us to come back, seeing that Achilleus has made savage the proud-hearted spirit within his body? (9:626-629). In this way, Aias has cunningly labeled Achilleus?s activism for standing up to Agamemnon?s oppression as actual selfishness and egotism. The loaded word ?savage? compares Achilleus?s actions to that of an animal, thereby branding Achilleus?s quest for honor inhumane. Aias also addresses the rest of the Greeks?he establishes that their morale depends on whether or not Achilleus can be persuaded to return to war. As previously explained in Book 1, Achilleus has already challenged the nature of the Greek hierarchy, believing that its leadership is corrupt. However, by pointing out that the Achaians see ?swift-footed? Achilleus as their true leader, Aias implies that if he stands by and watches these men perish without even attempting to assist them, his leadership is equally as poor as that of Agamemnon. ...read more.


He states, ??the injured man?s heart is curbed, and his pride, and his anger/when he has taken the price; but the gods put in your breast a spirit/not to be placated, bad, for the sake of one single girl? (Homer, Iliad 9:635-637). In essence, he argues that most men would be happy to be repaid in minimal treasures for the death of a child, yet Achilleus is ungrateful, unwilling to accept Agamemnon?s grand generosity. Aias goes on to seek affection from Achilleus: ?from the multitude of the Danaans, we who desire beyond all others to have your honor and love, out of all the Achaians? (Homer, Iliad 9:641-642). This call to Greek unity once again puts a great deal of pressure on Achilleus?s choice. Aias?s minimal interaction with Achilleus indirectly brings out the best in Achilleus. As a result, although Aias is a mastermind of deception, Achilleus is also mindful of his tactics. Aias preys on Achilleus?s most cherished qualities, and then skews the perspective so that Achilleus?s choices resemble that of Agamemnon, arguably the worst leader of the time. This does not influence Achilleus?s decision because of his humility; he already acknowledges that his leadership skills are not perfect. Achilleus?s resolute stance on withholding from war is not the result of stubbornness. On the contrary, this is the result of Achilleus?s respect for the gods? wishes. Achilleus is thereby the perfect exemplar for Homeric heroes?he would sacrifice his life to please the gods. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Classical Studies 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 University Degree Classical Studies essays

  1. School plays a more important role than the family in shaping one's personality. ...

    Generally this is what family teaches a child at the beginning. What is more, parents during this period of time also spread the knowledge about the surrounding world. In other words, by all this actions, parents build the foundations of a future personality that their child will have.

  2. Free essay

    Could a female be as heroic as a male character in Greek tragedy?

    revealed to be true is overwhelming - but it is debatable whether it is the public or private shame that causes her to do so, and the question is often raised: would she have continued the incestuous marriage if Oedipus remained unaware?

  1. How does Ovid weave together the different myths in Book 6 of Metamorphoses into ...

    Tereus abducts his sister in law, after he has gained permission from her father to take her on a trip to visit her sister. He holds her captive for a year and repeatedly rapes her and tortures her. He cuts out her tongue to prevent her from talking.

  2. What is the role of the nurse in different versions of the Hippolytus myth?

    But, as the play progresses a more sinister side to her character is revealed when she is the one who helps Phaedra devise the plot falsely accusing Hippolytus of rape "we must deflect the blame and set out to prove him guilty of incestuous love."

  1. Shakespeare one word play in King Lear

    Most savage and unnatural! Moreover, in the play the terms "natural" and "unnatural" can mean "normal" and "abnormal," respectively, in the consideration of happenings. Thus, France can reply to Lear this way concerning Cordelia's behavior: "Sure, her offence/Must be of such unnatural degree/That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd affection/Fall into taint" (I, i, 217-9).

  2. In the Epic, Gilgamesh, is searching for immortality. This want came from the death ...

    With that, lasting fame relates to immortality because it is everlasting. Their glory will not die until their stories are not told in future generations. The best immortality is nonphysical it is the legacy left behind to be told which lives forever.

  1. How would an Epicurean respond to Callicles argument (in Platos Gorgias) on pleasure?

    The concept of ataraxia, or a 'tranquillity' of the mind, is fundamental within Epicurean beliefs. We might understand ataraxia to mean a lack of anxiety; a secure knowledge that one's actions are ensuring a life free from pain. Epicurus summarises: 'For the end of all our actions is to be

  2. In Homer's "Odyssey" Odysseuss steadfast curiosity causes a marked inconsistence in his life.

    Driven by his curiosity to learn more about the island, Odysseus takes an unnecessary action because the crew has already rested, and further time spent on the island delays the ultimate goal of returning home while increasing the risk of trouble.

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