Familial Obligations In Agamemnon And The Iliad

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In Aeschylus’ Agamemnon and Homer’s The Iliad characters have trouble balancing familial obligations and obligations to the city-state and gods when they come into conflict. The choices the characters make in these conflicts reveals what the characters value the most, Agamemnon’s decision to sacrifice his daughter in order to be able to wage war shows that Agamemnon is serious about his role as a king, so much so that his obligation to his family takes a backseat to his role as a king. Characters in The Iliad didn’t have to worry about conflict between obligations to family and the city-state as much because the families were at home while the men were at war, so the obligation to protect the city was in the best interest of the family and …show more content…
The duty to the gods can be at odds with the obligation to the city-state as evidenced by Hector being convinced by Athena to battle Achilles in book XXII. Athena said to Hector “Why don’t we stay here and give him a fight?” (305, The Iliad Book XXII) Before speaking with Hector, Athena spoke to Achilles. Athena gave Achilles the advice “There’s nothing but glory on the beachhead for us now, my splendid Achilles, once we take Hector out of action, and there’s no way he can escape us now, … You stay here and catch your breath while I go to persuade the man to put up a fight” (305, The Iliad Book XXII). Athena directly intervened in the war by speaking to both of the men on the ground. Out of a sense of duty to the gods both men followed her suggestions and fought each other. Achilles knew he would defeat Hector, he was just waiting for a chance to fight him. Hector listening to Athena’s advice and feeling obligated to follow her advice was at odds with his obligation to his city-state. Hector was originally strongly motivated to fight in the war because of his obligation to his family and city-state. Hector knew that Achilles was the more powerful warrior and even contemplated bargaining for his funeral rights. Hector’s sense of honor wouldn’t allow him to retreat into Troy, but his fear of Achilles had him running around the outskirts of the city to avoid the battle. When Hector has to factor in the duty to the gods, he is trying to comply with obligations that are at odds. Hector fighting Achilles was detrimental to the greeks. The Prince of Troy shouldn’t be fighting in a battle he knows that he will lose, he is too important to the future of Troy. Hector knew that, but he values his duty to the gods over his duty to the city-state and his family. He also

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