The Rage of Achilles
The Rage of Achilles Journal for Latin 3 6/5/2007
What I Learned
This chapter in the story about the Trojan War tells of how Achilles becomes fed up with Agamemnon’s treatment of the situation when his girlfriend, Chryseis must return home.
The story starts as Agamemnon, the king of kings of the Greeks, kidnaps Chryseis, the daughter of the priest of Apollo, and takes her as his sex object.
All of the Greeks ask him to return her because he has angered Apollo. He refuses, and also refuses a large ransom for her return. In return, a plague is unleashed upon the Greek soldiers.
The prophet Calchas tells Agamemnon to send her back, but he is not happy. Achilles tells him off for being such a fool. This angers Agamemnon more. He decides that he will send Chryseis back in return for Achilles’ own sex object Briseis.
Achilles, in his anger, prepares to attack Agamemnon, but Athena talks him out of it. Instead, Achilles pleads to his mother, who pleads with Zeus to punish the Greeks.
Zeus, much to the anger of his wife, arranges for the Greeks to make an advance towards Troy which proved very costly for them.
All of the classic stories seem to involve politics between rulers and/or the gods, which happen to have a little fighting or adventure thrown in for good measure.
Homer seems to write a lot of fluff about some topics, meaning he actually covers very little. His style is to write with a lot of adjectives and clauses about certain events or speeches. Thus, Homer writes many pages with something which he could cover in one using modern writing styles. However, he does this at the expense of telling about more adventures or providing blow-by-blow accounts of battles.
This tale might be a reflection of the Greek’s problems with bad rulers. Agamemnon ignores the gods, all his men, his fellow kings, just to keep a girl. He takes the largest spoils and steal’s his solders mistresses. He is pompous and arrogant, and doesn’t care about anyone. I wonder who this could represent in real life.
Why does Agamemnon need to have Briseis? Wouldn’t any other teen girl work as well? Was he trying to punish or show his dominance over Achilles?
Overall, I think Achilles and Agamemnon were too attached to their women, and were willing to sacrifice anybody/anything for it. Don’t forget that the whole war was caused over Helen. Isn’t there more then enough beauty to go around?