Essay Agamemnon as a Tyrant as Described by Plato's "The Republic"

1265 Words 6 Pages
Many societal ills in a given culture can be attributed to the pride that develops in leaders and the aggressive effect this nature has on the need for personal gain. In his work The Republic, Plato spends a great deal of time outlining his vision of a society in which man's arrogant and competitive nature is unable to root itself into the government of the city, thus creating a completely just and good society. Nevertheless, even Plato realized that because of the inevitable influence of man's lust for power, no society could retain a perfectly just government forever. As man's greed overcomes the integrity of the "healthy city", oppression will take root. The inherent arrogance grows until the leader becomes an embodiment of …show more content…
The tyrant is prideful, greedy and selfish, fearful of the loss of his power, and willing to sacrifice others for his own wants. The furious and prideful nature of the Achaean leader Agamemnon in Homer's epic poem The Iliad embodies the adverse characteristics of a tyrant discussed in The Republic. His tyrannical nature nearly leads to the destruction of his men and the loss of a war. Agamemnon, as the general of the Achaean military during the Trojan War, becomes obsessed with the material honors that come with leading an army. Agamemnon angers the god Apollo by taking Chryseis, the daughter of one of his priest, as a prize after ransacking her city. When the woman's father pleas to Agamemnon to return his daughter are met with anger and threats, he prays that Apollo punish the Achaeans for Agamemnon's actions, crying "Pay the Danaans back- your arrows for my tears!" (Homer 1:49). Agamemnon's pride and greed causes him to refuse to return Chryseis, even when his men "cried out their assent: `Respect the priest, accept the shining ransom!" (Homer 1:26). Apollo punishes the Achaeans by killing many of their soldiers with his arrows, "cut[ing] them down in droves" (Homer 1:59). When a seer tells of the general's hand in the destruction, Agamemnon angrily says .".. I am willing to give her back, even so, if that is best for all... But fetch me another prize... else I

Related Documents