Analysis Of Achilles And Agamemnon In The Iliad

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In Book 1 of the Iliad, Achilles and Agamemnon appear to be fighting over who should surrender their war spoils for the good of the Achaean war effort. King Agamemnon is frustrated that he was told to give up his kidnapped woman rather than Achilles, the greater warrior. Homer casts Achilles in the light of the besieging hero and Agamemnon as the greedy king who cares more for wealth and honor than his men’s lives. As the book progresses and insults traded, Homer switches sides as Achilles removes himself from the battle. Homer reveals his true support not for the character, but the greater good of the Achaean war effort. Homer shows his audience that Agamemnon is not upset about returning the girl, rather, he is upset about Achilles, only a warrior, telling him, a king, how to solve the problem. King Agamemnon says to Achilles “Not so …show more content…
Achilles is shown in a much more favorable light by Homer. Homer describes Achilles as fueled by grief for his men and the Achaeans in the camp (1.64). He is strong in the face of handing over Brises, despite it affronting his honor and pride (1.398). Achilles is the voice of reason and good for the Achaeans through the first book of the Iliad. Although Homer sides with Achilles, the hero is still has his temper. He goes as far as calling Agamemnon a “worthless, burnt-out coward” and nearly draws his sword on the king (1.343, 228). Both of these insults Agamemnon does not take lightly. He knows Achilles is the better warrior and retaliates by Achilles’ impulsive actions only fuel the feud between the two men. Achilles threatens to leave the war front if his role as a warrior is only “brimming (Agamemnon’s) cup and piling (his) plunder” (1.202). Because of this rash statement, Achilles leaves the battlefield out of pride. And while he started the argument for the good of the Achaeans, he only ends up hurting his cause because of his

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