Agamemnon's Prizefighter Essay

982 Words Sep 30th, 2014 4 Pages
Agamemnon’s Prizefighter Although Homer’s epic poem, the Iliad, is set during the Greek siege on the city of Troy, the story’s main conflict transpires within the Greek beachhead camp between their supreme commander, Agamemnon, and their greatest warrior, Achilles. The first book details the falling-out between Agamemnon and Achilles after Agamemnon takes away Achilles’s war prize, Briseis, causing Achilles to remove himself from battle in spite of Agamemnon. This scene shows the origins of Achilles’s rage, which Achilles harnesses to either punish the Greeks or defeat the Trojans. James Redfield examines the underlying causes behind the conflict between Achilles and Agamemnon. Redfield draws on certain inherent characteristics within …show more content…
Agamemnon receives his royal authority from birth, but he cannot legitimately utilize that power unless his army loyally follows him. Agamemnon risks tainting his relationship with his army when he refuses to listen to the men in his ranks. After Chryses pleads with Agamemnon to return his daughter to him in exchange for a ransom, “Respect the priest take the ransom” (1.31) ripples through the ranks of the Greek army. Agamemnon ignores his army’s request and consequently the Greek camp suffers Apollo’s wrath for Agamemnon’s stubbornness. After this incident, Achilles voices a general discontent of Agamemnon within his ranks by asking, “How are you going to get any Greek warrior to follow you into battle again?” By disregarding his army’s wishes, Agamemnon jeopardizes his relationship with his main source of power, which puts his royal authority at stake. The first three hundred lines of the Iliad reveal some subtle examples of how Agamemnon feels threatened by Achilles because he believes that he may lose part of his royal leadership to Achilles. Redfield makes it clear that Achilles infringes on Agamemnon’s royal duty by first calling a military assembly. Additionally Achilles criticizes Agamemnon during the assembly by pointing out all the pain Agamemnon had caused the Greeks by rebuffing Apollo’s priest. Achilles is also seen holding a scepter while swearing that, “When every last Greek desperately misses Achilles, your remorse wont do any

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