The Virtue Of Achilles Justice In Homer's Odyssey

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The unjust act of taking Briseis from Achilles alienates the greatest Achaean warrior from his fellow Achaeans and causes him to pull out of the war. As the Trojans triumph repeatedly, Agamemnon seeks to correct his wrongdoing by sending an embassy to Achilles with a goal of persuading Achilles to return to the battle. G. Mitchell Reyes states that there are “four dominant sources of appeal: honor, material, power, and justice” (23). While Achilles does value honor, material, and power; to satisfy his vindictive nature requires that justice be served to Agamemnon. The justice that Achilles requires to satisfy his enmity towards Agamemnon is revenge based. Homer argues against revenge-based justice by using Achilles as an example of how revenge …show more content…
Achilles will gain power by marrying Agamemnon’s daughter, gaining “seven citadels” that are rich lands facing the sea, and the wealth he will receive from Agamemnon and the cities (Homer 9.179). “The drive for power permeates the whole of Homeric society” so Achilles should have been thoroughly convinced by the amount of power Agamemnon offered (Reyes 27). However, Achilles is not looking for power, and therefore, he is not tempted to take power in the place of justice. Power will not grant Achilles the justice he desires, so Achilles has no need for the power the embassy from Agamemnon offers. The embassy’s appeals to power prove to be fruitless because Achilles has no use for the power they offer. Justice remains the most important appeal to Achilles, and the justice he deems fit must be given to Agamemnon in order for Achilles to return to the war against the Trojans. Achilles will only be satisfied by bring Agamemnon to justice; he cannot be bought with promises of …show more content…
Justice is the most valued appeal by Achilles, but the embassy and Agamemnon fail to prove Achilles with the justice he views as needed. The embassy views Agamemnon’s payment of gifts as just while Achilles does not. They deem these gifts as appropriate for the offense Agamemnon committed, and Achilles loses sympathizers by turning the gifts down. By not accepted the gifts offered to him, Achilles is turning away from the justice accepted by the Achaeans. This justice driven by revenge is the cause of the destruction surrounding Achilles. Specifically, Achilles wants justice in the form of Agamemnon suffering the same humiliation as Achilles suffered. Achilles believes that Agamemnon’s honor must be taken from Agamemnon rather than Agamemnon offering honor, material gain, and power while not losing any of his own honor. No matter how much Agamemnon gives Achilles, Achilles will not be satisfied. Achilles is not looking for personal gain. His sole desire is justice in the form of revenge. The embassy and Agamemnon fail to deliver this type of justice and therefore fails to convince Achilles to return to the battle. Achilles believes that revenge is justified since he was personally wronged by Agamemnon. Achilles’s vindictive nature demands that Agamemnon must suffer unwillingly,

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