Aeschylus Agamemnon - SB
This connection between Athena and the King of Ithaka had far greater significance Odysseus was trusted and respected enough by Agamemnon to take the. The The Iliad characters covered include: Achilles, Agamemnon (also called Along with Nestor, Odysseus is one of the Achaeans' two best public speakers. trusts Phoenix, and Phoenix mediates between him and Agamemnon during their quarrel. calling attention to the unclear nature of the gods' relationship to Fate. Upon the roof of the palace of Agamemnon at Argos. Watchman .. For Menelaus, indeed— first and foremost expect him to return. At least if some beam of.
Agamemnon enters in a chariot that is heavy with treasures, the goods that he has taken from Troy as his plunder. This includes Cassandra, who rides in the back of the carriage, away from the audience. He arrives thanking the gods, praising those who died in the war, and promising to look into rearranging the city's system of justice.
A two-tape audio cassette version of Agamemnon was released in by Jabberwocky Studio of San Francisco. A more recent version of Agamemnon is included in Blackstone Audiobooks's compact disc release of The Oresteia, from a translation by Ian Johnston, directed by Yuri Rasovsky and performed by Hollywood Theatre of the Ear.
A translation of Agamemnon: Clytaemnestra enters and explains how difficult life has been for her while Agamemnon was gone. She mentions their child, who is gone but should be there. When Agamemnon looks startled that she would bring up the sacrifice of Iphigenia, he explains that she is talking about their son, Orestes, who has gone into exile with Strophios the Phocian, to keep him safe during the war.
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In the name of doing honor to her husband, the conquering hero, Clytaemnestra has her servants lay out tapestries on the ground, saying that his feet should never again have to touch plain soil. Agamemnon objects, saying that such treatment is only fitting for gods, but she tells him that he should feel he deserves to be revered above all other men because he is a war hero. Agamemnon gives in at length. As he dismounts onto the tapestries, Cassandra can be seen in the back of his chariot.
He tells the servants to escort her into the house and treat her well, and then he enters the palace. Clytaemnestra follows him in. After the Chorus expresses their foreboding once more, Clytaemnestra emerges from the palace and approaches Cassandra, inviting her inside. When she does not move or talk, Clytaemnestra goes inside again, furious, telling the Chorus to make her understand her new position as a slave in this house.
Eventually, Cassandra does speak, but she talks in cryptic half-sentences about destruction and death; the Chorus assumes that she is remembering the war zone from which she recently came. The more she talks, the more the old men assume that she has been driven insane by the war and by being enslaved. They are amazed by her ability to correctly speak about the events that have occurred in the house of Atreus in the past though she comes from a land overseas, and they listen to how she came to have her particular powers.
The god Apollo fell in love with her and gave her the gift of being able to tell the future, but she ended up rejecting him, so he added a curse, that all of her prophesies, though correct, would not be believed. The Chorus listens carefully, and true to the curse, they still are unable to understand what Cassandra's predictions of death have to do with Agamemnon and herself.
When she eventually, reluctantly, goes through the doors, they are curious about why she seems so sad. Soon, a cry rings out from within the palace, then another. The doors open to reveal Agamemnon's body, wrapped in bloody robes, lying across a silver cauldron, with Cassandra's dead body beside him. Clytaemnestra, with a bloody sword in her hand, steps forward and explains how she enacted the plan that she has worked on for years while he was gone.
She lured him into a bath, she says, then wrapped him up in robes so that he could not fight and stabbed him again and again until, on the third thrust, he died. The Chorus is horrified that she has killed the king, but Clytaemnestra defends herself on the grounds that he killed Iphigenia, their daughter, in sacrifice to the goddess Artemis.
Her defense includes a reference to Cassandra, the concubine that Agamemnon brought home as a war trophy. The Chorus declares that Clytaemnestra is either insane or horrifyingly evil, telling her that she will be brought to justice for killing the king. Clytaemnestra announces that she is not without defenses. She brings out Aegisthus, Agamemnon's cousin, who she says is going to rule by her side.
Aegisthus has lived his life waiting for revenge on Agamemnon. His father, Thyestes, was the brother of Agamemnon's father, Atreus. Atreus and Thyestes competed for control of Argos. Once, after having banned Thyestes from the city, Atreus invited him back in and served him a feast.
When he was nearly finished eating, Thyestes discovered that he was eating the flesh of his recently murdered children. He fled into hiding with his one surviving infant son, Aegisthus, who waited in exile until a time when he could return and take control of Argos. The Chorus refuses to accept Aegisthus as their ruler.
He calls his soldiers to make the Chorus comply. The soldiers draw their swords, and the old men of the Chorus raise their canes.
Clytaemnestra prevents the imminent battle. Aegisthus swears that he will make them pay for standing up to him, and the members of the Chorus say that Orestes, who is in exile at the time, will return to save the city from the tyrant's clutches. In different versions of the story, Aegisthus has an active hand in the murder of Agamemnon, though in the story that Aeschylus tells in this play, the murder is committed solely by Clytaemnestra.
As Aegisthus explains it, he has been in exile for his entire life, waiting for his chance to take the throne of Argos, which he feels is rightfully his. His father, Thyestes, was the brother of Agamemnon's father, Atreus, and had equal claim to the throne.
The two brothers fought back and forth until Atreus invited Thyestes to a feast and tricked him into eating the bodies of his own children. Aegisthus survived and was raised out in the countryside, educated in hatred for Atreus and his sons, Agamemnon and Menelaus.
Within moments of taking control of Argos, Aegisthus shows that he will be a king who rules by intimidation. The old men of the Chorus object to the fact that their king has been murdered and that his replacement is the man who is going to marry the murderess, so Aegisthus commands their silence. To back up his command, he calls in armed guards, and is prepared to have his guards kill the citizens before Clytaemnestra calls the attack off.
Agamemnon Although he is the title character of the play, Agamemnon only appears in it briefly. His importance to the story rests more on who he is, and on what he has done before, than on what he does onstage. Ten years before this story begins, Agamemnon led the Greek army in an attack on Troy.
Paris, the prince of Troy, had come to Argos and abducted Helen, who was the wife of Agamemnon's brother Menelaus, and the Greeks were honor-bound to fight to retrieve her. The invasion itself created some resentment among those who were left behind, especially the women. At one point in the play Agamemnon's wife Clytaemnestra speaks scornfully about the fact that all of the Greek men abandoned their homes and wives to defend the honor of another woman.
When the Greek ships were prepared to attack Troy, they were halted at Aulis by winds that pushed them back toward shore and not out to sea. The goddess Artemis required the sacrifice of Agamemnon's daughter, Iphigenia. Different versions of this story give different reasons for Artemis's demand, but in this play it is to atone for the blood of Greek soldiers who are going to be killed in the coming war.
Agamemnon killed his daughter on an altar, earning him the hatred of Clytaemnestra, his wife and the girl's mother. When he does appear in the play, Agamemnon is a humble man. He gives thanks to the gods for his victory and to the people of Argos, who have waited patiently for the army's return, and he vows to start immediately to rebuild the government.
When Clytaemnestra tells him to walk on tapestries instead of walking in the dirt, he modestly states that he is not worth such exalted treatment. She arrives at Argos as the slave and concubine of Agamemnon, one of the spoils of war that he has earned for himself in his part of defeating the Trojans.
Cassandra has the power of foreseeing what will happen in the future, given to her by the god Apollo, who was in love with her. According to the version of the story she tells in Agamemnon, she had a relationship with Apollo but managed to avoid becoming pregnant with his child.
In his anger, he put a curse on Cassandra so that her prophesies would be accurate but they would never be believed by those who heard them. Arriving at Argos, she refuses to speak to Clytaemnestra or to leave Agamemnon's carriage and enter his palace. Her hesitance is first read as confusion about being in a strange land with people using a different language, and then as a refusal to admit that she is now a slave, but she eventually tells the Chorus that she knows she will be killed alongside Agamemnon when she enters the house.
The old men think that she is confused or insane as she walks to the doom that she knows is coming. Chorus The Chorus is a group of old men of Argos who, they explain bitterly, were considered too old to participate in the invasion of Troy. They feel that they have suffered under Clytaemnestra's rule for the past ten years.
They do not trust her judgment, particularly because they do not think a woman is fit to rule a country like theirs. They eagerly look forward to the return of their king, Agamemnon. After Clytaemnestra murders Agamemnon and announces that Aegisthus will be the new king, the members of the Chorus threaten to rise up in rebellion. They stand up to the armed guards who face them with spears and swords, and are ready to face death before Clytaemnestra calls the guards down.
Clytaemnestra According to tradition, Clytaemnestra was the daughter of Leda, who was also the mother of Helen, Menelaus's wife. In Agamemnon she is presented as a jealous, vindictive woman who has been planning to murder her husband after he returns from leading the army in war.
In Agamemnon's ten-year absence, Clytaemnestra has ruled Argos. She has been an unpopular ruler. The Watchman who begins the play and the Chorus of old men who have been living in the town while the army was away complain about living under her command. There is no question that they look forward to Agamemnon's return because they find him to be a more fair and compassionate ruler than his wife.
She seems to be a capable ruler whom the citizens of Argos underestimate because of her gender. For instance, she implements a series of signal fires that can carry a message almost instantly across thousands of miles of sea and land, but the Chorus dismisses her idea as a woman's wishful thinking. Their low esteem only makes Clytaemnestra angrier and crueler.
Upon Agamemnon's return, Clytaemnestra pretends to be a doting wife. Still, her speech indicates the anger that she harbors. She mentions their absent child, raising the memory of Iphigenia, whom Agamemnon sacrificed on an altar at the beginning of the war. Agamemnon shows himself uncomfortable until she coyly states that she was talking about their son Orestes, who is off in exile. She tells Agamemnon that he should walk on tapestries, sarcastically suggesting that he is too good to touch the ground while at the same time getting him used to the kinds of fine cloths that she will eventually bind him up in to kill him.
Clytaemnestra knows that she will not be able to rule Argos once she has killed Agamemnon, but she also knows that a man who took power from the king could inspire the necessary fear to rule. Part of her plan for murder includes positioning Aegisthus, with whom she has a relationship, on the throne, which she can no longer hold herself.
Herald The Herald is a soldier who has been off to war with the Greek army.Classics Summarized: Iphigenia
He arrives soon after Clytaemnestra has seen the signal fires and confirms what the fires have told her: Though his appearance in the play is only minutes after the light of the signal fires reaches Argos, readers can assume that much more time has passed between the two. The Herald also brings news of a number of Greek ships that were lost in a storm after the war was over, including the one bearing Menelaus. He says that there were bodies floating in the water, but that other soldiers who were not accounted for might show up at home someday.
His words echo the events in Homer's epic poem The Odysseyin which Menelaus and his wife, Helen, are found, having been shipwrecked in Egypt.
Iphigenia Iphigenia is the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytaemnestra. She was killed ten years earlier, sacrificed on an altar to the goddess Artemis.
Clytaemnestra murders Agamemnon in revenge for having killed Iphigenia. Orestes Orestes is the son of Agamemnon and Clytaemnestra. He does not appear in the play, as he has been sent to live with a family friend, Strophios the Phocian, while his father was away at war. In the last scene, the Chorus predicts that Orestes will return to Argos to avenge his father's death, as he in fact does in The Libation Bearers, the second part of Aeschylus's trilogy, The Oresteia.
Watchman The Watchman is the first character to appear in the play. He stands guard on top of the palace, looking out into the night for a signal. He has been there night after night over the course of the ten-year war and complains about the cold and the boredom of his task until, within the context of Agamemnon, he actually does see the signal fire that was lit far off on the horizon; then he runs inside to spread the word.
Agamemnon is a conquering hero, the leader of an army that triumphed after a decade of fighting. Looking at that aspect alone, he deserves a hero's welcome upon his return home. Clytaemnestra, on the other hand, views him differently. To her, he is the man who murdered her child, Iphigenia, the product of Agamemnon's own blood. In Clytaemnestra's mind, the military victory in Troy does not justify the sacrifice that Agamemnon made to achieve it.
The play, therefore, raises complex questions about the nature of justice. On one hand, it is true that Agamemnon has the responsibilities of a leader, which sometimes might necessitate committing acts for the greater good that would not, individually, be acceptable in peacetime.
Military leaders are not considered to be murderers when their actions are taken in the course of fulfilling their duties.
Furthermore, Iphigenia's death was ordained by the goddess Artemis, a higher moral power than Agamemnon himself. Clytaemnestra, on the other hand, feels that justice is on her side. Aeschylus does not answer these questions, though the other plays in The Oresteia go on to explore them with increasing subtlety.
Revenge Clytaemnestra nurses her anger for ten years, waiting to take her revenge against her husband. Aegisthus waits even longer—his entire life since infancy—to exact his revenge, as his cause is more complicated and the crime committed against Aegisthus's family was even more barbaric.
The offense that Aegisthus wants revenge for is unimaginable in its cruelty, but it was perpetrated by Agamemnon's father, not by the man Aegisthus intends to punish. His is a more theoretical hatred. One question raised constantly in The Oresteia is this: Aeschylus complicates this question in Agamemnon by making those who have suffered wrongs also stand to gain earthly rewards from their vengeful actions.
Clytaemnestra and Aegisthus feel entitled to act against Agamemnon because offenses were done against them, but like any conspirators who have no more motive than personal gain, they stand to take control of the country in the course of taking their revenge.
In The Libation Bearers, Orestes returns to Argos to take revenge against his mother for the revenge she took against his father on behalf of her daughter, and then Orestes must defend himself and explain why he deserves revenge and when the cycle of revenge might be considered complete.
Make a list of five or more people from the news who you think qualify as Cassandras and explain in a class presentation how the public rationalized ignoring each one.
At times, the Chorus dismisses Clytaemnestra's ideas because they think that as a woman, she is behaving emotionally instead of following reason. Have sexist attitudes changed within your lifetime? Using examples from personal experience or from the news, write an essay in which you argue that sexism is either becoming outdated or here to stay.
In the play, Clytaemnestra devised a new method for bringing news of the war back from Troy before the official messenger arrived. Design a new method for sending communications from one room of your school to another, and create a poster explaining your idea. Comparisons have been made between the Chorus of ancient Greek plays and the newscasters of today. Choose one news story from television or radio that involves a complicated family like Agamemnon's.
Agamemnon | Greek mythology | kinenbicounter.info
Record it and write a short drama based on the events of the story. Incorporate the newscaster into the events of your play as one of the characters. Jealousy Although it is not the major motivator in this play, jealousy is certainly a driving force that stimulates the bad feelings between Clytaemnestra and Agamemnon.
Early in the play, Clytaemnestra notes that she has watched over Argos while all of the men of the country raced to Troy to fight for the honor of another man's woman, reputedly the most beautiful woman in the world. Unmentioned is the fact that Agamemnon was one of Helen's suitors before Helen married his brother Menelaus. Later, Clytaemnestra clearly expresses her jealousy about her husband's involvement with other women—not just Cassandra, the Trojan princess Agamemnon has brought back from the war as his concubine, but all of the women he probably had relationships with during the decade-long siege.
Clytaemnestra keeps Aegisthus's involvement in the murder plot a secret until after she has killed her husband. In other versions of this story, Aegisthus is an active player in murdering Agamemnon and Cassandra, but Aeschylus makes it clear that, though Aegisthus believes himself to be a driving force, the killing is motivated by Clytaemnestra's anger at being wronged.
Sexism The traditional roles of men and women were clearly defined in ancient Greek society and are reflected in Agamemnon. This play is able to draw particular attention to those roles because of the situation in which it takes place.
It is wartime and the king has been called away from the country, creating the unusual circumstance of the queen being left in charge for an extended length of time. Clytaemnestra's rule of Argos is not popular with the Watchman or the old men in the Chorus. It is likely, though, that their dislike of her is caused by their own sexism, and not by any particular act of her own.
They never mention anything that she may have done as their ruler that would have harmed or offended them, but they do complain, frequently, about her being a woman. Her plan to carry news across thousands of miles with a series of signal lights is ingenious, but after a while the Chorus comes to mock it as unreliable: Sexist attitudes may be seen at the very heart of the play's action.
Agamemnon and Clytaemnestra view the sacrifice of their daughter, Iphigenia, from different perspectives, and their perspectives coincide with traditional gender roles. Agamemnon views Iphigenia's death as a necessary loss in order to attain a military victory that will hopefully prevent further attacks, while Clytaemnestra sees it through the lens of her own immediate family, as a mother who has lost a child. STYLE Dialogue Aeschylus is credited with adding a second actor on stage in his dramas, a technique that allowed his dramas to present their situations through the characters' dialogue.
Originally, staged dramas were presented as recitations by a chorus, or group of actors, which told the story but did not act it out. By Aeschylus's time, there was generally one actor. He might change masks throughout a performance, indicating that he was different characters, but still, the dramatic possibilities were limited.
With the addition of a second actor, the issues examined in a play could be dramatized through dialogue. Instead of telling audiences what each character felt, the character could either say what he or she felt or try to hide his or her feelings. The other character could then accept what he or she was told or challenge it. One example of this in Agamemnon occurs when Clytaemnestra, talking about how she "wavered between the living and the dead" while her husband was away, abruptly starts talking about their child who is "gone, not standing by our side," and only after a while reveals that she is talking about Orestes, the son in exile, and not the daughter that Agamemnon sacrificed on an altar.
Without dialogue, his suspicions of her would have to be voiced directly, which would undercut the nature of suspicion. Greek Chorus The use of dialogue diminished the part of the Chorus in Greek drama, though it was still many years before the Chorus fell away. In Agamemnon the Chorus is used, as choruses traditionally were, to convey background information.
Many audience members would have been familiar with the tales that dramas were based on, but there were also many different versions of those tales. The recitation by the Chorus would serve to show which details were important to this playwright's telling.
By the time that Agamemnon was written, the Chorus had ceased to function as an objective narrator and was identified as a character itself. Usually, as in this play, it represented a group of citizens who were familiar with the other characters and who had a vested interest in the events that were transpiring. The Chorus in Agamemnon is even more specific than a group of citizens because it represents the old men who have been excluded from the war and have a very particular view of the situation of the play.
They are resentful about being told that they are not good enough to fight and resentful about being left to take orders from Clytaemnestra, a woman. The Trojan War The events depicted in Agamemnon take place in the aftermath of the Trojan Warwhich is considered one of the most significant sources for Greek mythology. Aside from Greek descriptions, there is no direct historical evidence of when the war took place or who was involved.
Archaeologists have found that the ancient city of Troy, in modern Turkey, overlooking the straits of Hellespont, was destroyed sometime around bce, presumably by violence, and many assume that the war that brought it down was the basis for the legends of the Trojan War. The Athenian scholar Erastosthenes calculated in the third century bce that the fall of Troy occurred around bce, which is so close that historians assume that each calculation is talking about the same event. According to tradition, the Trojan War began as a direct result of a competition of the gods.
Three goddesses—Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite—asked Zeus to choose which was fairest, and Zeus put the task off to Paris, the prince of Troy. Each goddess offered Paris a bribe for his vote, and he accepted the one offered by Aphrodite.
As goddess of love, Aphrodite was not the most beautiful one, but she could offer Paris the love of Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world and the wife of King Menelaus of Sparta. Some sources say that Helen fell in love with Paris, and some say that he came to Sparta and took her forcibly, since Aphrodite had promised her to him.
Menelaus called together all of the great men of Greece who had been Helen's suitors before she had married him, a list that included Odysseus, Ajax, Patroclus, and Menelaus's own brother, Agamemnon, who led the army that set out to invade Troy. The siege lasted ten years, ending when the Greeks snuck in to the city hidden inside of a hollow statue, the famed Trojan Horse, given as a false peace offering.
Many writers of the classic Greek period wrote tales about the Trojan War, and so there are many variations to each story, as well as intricate details available about the histories of each character. The most authoritative sources are The Iliad, concerning events in the final year of the war, and The Odyssey, concerning the ten-year journey home of Greek hero Odysseus and his crewmates.
These works are credited to the epic poet Homer, though historians believe that the two books might have been written by several different authors between and bce. It is certain that Aeschylus, as well as many of the audience members who would have attended performances of his works, would have been familiar with Homer's accounts of the Trojan War and its aftermath.
Greek Dramatic Competitions Of all of the examples of ancient Greek drama that exist today, all but one come from the springtime festivals of Dionysus Eleuthereus in Athens that began in the sixth century bce.
The festival was originally a celebration of the god Dionysus, the god of wine and creativity. By the sixth century, however, the drama, which had been staged as a minor part of the festival, had grown in prominence to become an important focus each year. Three playwrights were allowed to submit three dramas each year, as well as a short, rowdy comedy, called a satyr play.
Each year, three wealthy citizens were also chosen and assigned to provide financing for the staging of the competition plays, and ten judges were chosen, one from each of the city's "tribes," or phylai. Winners of the dramatic competitions were recognized with a crown of ivy.
Eventually, as dramas evolved from poetic speeches recited by choruses to dramatizations of scenes by distinct characters, a class of professional actors evolved out of the festivals of Dionysus Eleuthereus, also called the Dionysia. Women are not considered fit for public office; only in the case of an extraordinary event like a war would a woman like Clytaemnestra hold political power.
Political offices across the globe are open to people of either gender. For example, in Angela Merkel becomes the first chancellor of Germany. Polytheism, or belief in many gods, is common in major civilizations. The gods of ancient Greece and Rome are thought to have been actively involved in human affairs, motivated by the same desires that compel human behavior. Polytheism still exists, but the three most prevalent religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—are monotheistic, meaning they hold that there is only one god.
One generation of a family might fight to take revenge for a wrong done to them in the generation before. In first-world nations where all citizens have access to the legal system, most wrongs are handled through the courts.
The murder of a ruler might not be punished if the murderers have enough political power to take control of the country. Political coups still displace established governments, but there are international tribunals to prosecute the worst violations. Dramas like Agamemnon are attended by those who have citizenship—males of the upper class. Live theater is available to all, regardless of financial standing or interest; however, people most frequently watch drama in the form of movies or television.
As the competitions developed, the standards became more structured. Each poet's three competition works came to be linked by a theme, and plays eventually constituted trilogies following the lives of the same characters. Aeschylus's trilogy The Oresteia, of which Agamemnon is the first play, is the one remaining intact trilogy to have survived to this day. It won first prize at the Athenian festival. Its corresponding satyr play, Proteus, concerns the travels of Menelaus as he returns from the Trojan War.
Aeschylus won the festival thirteen times over the course of his long lifetime. Sophocles, who competed against the much older Aeschylus, managed to beat him in competition and went on to win seventeen more times, including for his Oedipus trilogy, which exists today. The other major tragedian of the period was Euripides, who was born after Aeschylus's death.
He won the Athenian dramatic festival only three times during his life and once after his deathbut he is considered one of the most important writers of the time, writing several works that survive today, including The Bacchae. Winning the Athens drama festival, his trilogy The Oresteia earned him recognition from the start and has been one of the most influential works of the Western canon ever since. He is credited with putting more than one character at a time on the stage and building his plays around complex moral dilemmas, setting standards for drama that remain in place today.
Admiration for Aeschylus has been constant throughout the centuries, exemplified in the quote by Victorian poet Charles Algernon Swinburne, who Albin Lesky reports in A History of Greek Literature once referred to The Oresteia as "the greatest achievement of the human mind.
Seeing Patroclus about to kill Sarpedonhis mortal son, Zeus says: Ah me, that it is destined that the dearest of men, Sarpedon, must go down under the hands of Menoitios' son Patroclus. Majesty, son of Kronos, what sort of thing have you spoken? Do you wish to bring back a man who is mortal, one long since doomed by his destiny, from ill-sounding death and release him?
Do it, then; but not all the rest of us gods shall approve you. This motif recurs when he considers sparing Hector, whom he loves and respects. This time, it is Athene who challenges him: Father of the shining bolt, dark misted, what is this you said?
But come, let us ourselves get him away from death, for fear the son of Kronos may be angered if now Achilleus kills this man. It is destined that he shall be the survivor, that the generation of Dardanos shall not die Whether or not the gods can alter fate, they do abide it, despite its countering their human allegiances; thus, the mysterious origin of fate is a power beyond the gods.
Fate implies the primeval, tripartite division of the world that Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades effected in deposing their father, Cronusfor its dominion. Zeus took the Air and the Sky, Poseidon the Waters, and Hades the Underworldthe land of the dead—yet they share dominion of the Earth. Despite the earthly powers of the Olympic gods, only the Three Fates set the destiny of Man. Either, if I stay here and fight beside the city of the Trojans, my return home is gone, but my glory shall be everlasting; but if I return home to the beloved land of my fathers, the excellence of my glory is gone, but there will be a long life left for me, and my end in death will not come to me quickly.
Agamemnon's sceptre, the wheel of Hebe 's chariot, the house of Poseidon, the throne of Zeus, the house of Hephaestus. Translator Lattimore renders kleos aphthiton as forever immortal and as forever imperishable—connoting Achilles's mortality by underscoring his greater reward in returning to battle Troy.
Kleos is often given visible representation by the prizes won in battle. When Agamemnon takes Briseis from Achilles, he takes away a portion of the kleos he had earned. Achilles' shield, crafted by Hephaestus and given to him by his mother Thetis, bears an image of stars in the centre. The stars conjure profound images of the place of a single man, no matter how heroic, in the perspective of the entire cosmos.
Yet the concept of homecoming is much explored in other Ancient Greek literature, especially in the post-war homeward fortunes experienced by the Atreidae Agamemnon and Menelausand Odysseus see the Odyssey. Pride[ edit ] Pride drives the plot of the Iliad.
The Greeks gather on the plain of Troy to wrest Helen from the Trojans. Though the majority of the Trojans would gladly return Helen to the Greeks, they defer to the pride of their prince, Alexandros, also known as Paris.
Due to this slight, Achilles refuses to fight and asks his mother, Thetis, to make sure that Zeus causes the Greeks to suffer on the battlefield until Agamemnon comes to realize the harm he has done to Achilles.
When in Book 9 his friends urge him to return, offering him loot and his girl, Briseis, he refuses, stuck in his vengeful pride. From epic start to epic finish, pride drives the plot. In Book I, the Greek troubles begin with King Agamemnon's dishonorable, unkingly behavior—first, by threatening the priest Chryses 1.
The warrior's consequent rancor against the dishonorable king ruins the Greek military cause. The epic takes as its thesis the anger of Achilles and the destruction it brings.
Anger disturbs the distance between human beings and the gods. Uncontrolled anger destroys orderly social relationships and upsets the balance of correct actions necessary to keep the gods away from human beings. Hybris forces Paris to fight against Menelaus. The "Wrath of Achilles". King Agamemnon dishonours Chryses, the Trojan priest of Apollo, by refusing with a threat the restitution of his daughter, Chryseis—despite the proffered ransom of "gifts beyond count".
Moreover, in that meeting, Achilles accuses Agamemnon of being "greediest for gain of all men". But here is my threat to you. Even as Phoibos Apollo is taking away my Chryseis. I shall convey her back in my own ship, with my own followers; but I shall take the fair-cheeked Briseis, your prize, I myself going to your shelter, that you may learn well how much greater I am than you, and another man may shrink back from likening himself to me and contending against me.
He vows to never again obey orders from Agamemnon. Furious, Achilles cries to his mother, Thetis, who persuades Zeus's divine intervention—favouring the Trojans—until Achilles's rights are restored. Again, the Wrath of Achilles turns the war's tide in seeking vengeance when Hector kills Patroclus. Aggrieved, Achilles tears his hair and dirties his face. Thetis comforts her mourning son, who tells her: So it was here that the lord of men Agamemnon angered me. Still, we will let all this be a thing of the past, and for all our sorrow beat down by force the anger deeply within us.
Now I shall go, to overtake that killer of a dear life, Hektor; then I will accept my own death, at whatever time Zeus wishes to bring it about, and the other immortals. Date and textual history[ edit ] Further information: Homeric question and Historicity of the Iliad Achilles being adored by princesses of Skyrosa scene from the Iliad where Odysseus Ulysses discovers him dressed as a woman and hiding among the princesses at the royal court of Skyros.
Scholarly consensus mostly places it in the 8th century BC, although some favour a 7th-century date. Herodotushaving consulted the Oracle at Dodonaplaced Homer and Hesiod at approximately years before his own time, which would place them at c. Homer is thus separated from his subject matter by about years, the period known as the Greek Dark Ages.
Intense scholarly debate has surrounded the question of which portions of the poem preserve genuine traditions from the Mycenaean period. The Catalogue of Ships in particular has the striking feature that its geography does not portray Greece in the Iron Agethe time of Homer, but as it was before the Dorian invasion.
Literature was central to the educational-cultural function of the itinerant rhapsodewho composed consistent epic poems from memory and improvisation, and disseminated them, via song and chant, in his travels and at the Panathenaic Festival of athletics, music, poetics, and sacrifice, celebrating Athena 's birthday.
Yet, by the s, Milman Parry — had launched a movement claiming otherwise. His investigation of the oral Homeric style—"stock epithets" and "reiteration" words, phrases, stanzas —established that these formulae were artifacts of oral tradition easily applied to an hexametric line.