Agamemnon In The Iliad Character Analysis

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In Book 9 of the Iliad by Homer, the reader witnesses an interesting event. Prior to this book, Agamemnon, the greatest of the Achean Kings, has hurt Achilles’ pride by taking Achilles prize, a woman. Because of this assault on his honor, Achilles has sworn that he will not fight for the Greeks, which has left the Greeks without their most potent weapon. Agamemnon eventually realizes that he was wrong and sends an embassy to Achilles consisting of: Odysseus, the great tactician, Pheonix, an old mentor of Achilles, and Ajax, the most respected of Achilles’ comrades in arms. The reader can learn about each of the ambassadors based on what the ambassadors say to Achilles and how they say it, but we can also learn about Achilles by his response. …show more content…
Achilles begins by asserting that he must say what he feels, not what he thinks. Achilles rails against Agamemnon saying “I hate that man like the very Gates of Death (9:378).” Achilles goes on to complain about all of the work he has done and how Agamemnon, who would not participate in raids, would keep most of the loot. Not only does Agamemnon keep most of the treasure, he thinks he can take another man’s prize. If Agamemnon can take a prize once, what is to keep Atrides from doing it again? Achilles says “Now that he’s torn my honor from my hands, [. . .] don’t let him try me now. [. . . ] He’ll never win me over (9:217-219)!” He goes on to claim that he is going to sail the next day and he advises the others to do the same. Achilles goes on to say that he will not accept any gifts from Agamemnon. Not even if it were all of the wealth of Egyptian Thebes. He ends by extending an invitation to Pheonix to sail with him in the morning, if Pheonix so choses. We see in Achilles’ response to Odysseus that Achilles has many feelings on the subject of Agamemnon, and none of them flattering. Achilles says in line 463 that he “wouldn’t give you a splinter for the man (9:463)!” Achilles obviously no longer trusts Atrides and will not allow himself to be duped by Agamemnon …show more content…
Instead of ____ lines, Pheonix’s speech is ______ lines. Pheonix also takes a narrative approach to appeal to Achilles’ emotions. He begins by telling the story of how he ran away from home and came to Peleus’ kingdom. Pheonix appeals to Achilles’ loyalty by talking about all of the things that Pheonix did for Achilles and that he did these things that “”someday you [Achilles] might fight disaster off my back (pg. 268).” Pheonix continues talking about how the gods are changeable, implying that man should follow the example of gods, and how heroes should be adaptable. He follows these assertions with the story of Meleager. Meleager did almost exactly what Achilles is doing, he got angry and decided not to fight for his city. This cost Meleager status and honor. Pheonix concludes by pleading for Achilles to join the fight. He also appeals to Achilles’ lust for honor by saying that if Achilles fights, “the Acheans will honor [him] like a god (pg.

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