Homer, Iliad 1.193–214

The context of the poem refers to Achilles effort of nursing his anger after king Agamemnon threatened to take away Briseis. Achilles had declined to fight for Agamemnon’s selfish desires. Agamemnon frustrated Achilles after saying he would take away his precious prize (Briseis) to proof the might of a king. Achilles was outraged by the king’s comment and was about to draw his sword and slay the son of Atreus until Athene calmed the situation. Athene held back Achilles from killing the king, and Achilles predicted the king downfall due to his arrogance.

The central conflict began when Paris, the son of Priam and king of Troy, set his eyes upon a beautiful woman called Helen. The Trojans had attended a wedding festival of Peleus and Thetis as a way of forging a more potent political alliance with the Greeks. Unfortunately, Helen was married to Agamemnon brother Menelaus, and a bitter rivalry sparked when Paris took her away to Troy. The king Agamemnon sermoned his ally forces to join him in the quest of retrieving Helen. However, Agamemnon had, for a long time, desired to capture the wealth of Troy, and this was his best shot. In this conflict, we see dispute arising from the love between Paris and Helen and the compromised pride of Menelaus. Additionally, Agamemnon had an unwavering desire for the wealth in Troy.

Moreover, the literature demonstrates the conflict between Achilles and King Agamemnon. Achilles disliked the king’s greed for power, wealth and land that made him a dishonourable and arrogant man. Achilles regarded Agamemnon as “shameless one” and a “dog-face” to symbolize the absence of honour in the king. Agamemnon ignited the fire when he threatened to take way Briseis (the prize Achilles secured with his effort) to make Achilles and the army realize the power of a king. Achilles becomes exceptionally irritated by the king and decides to withdraw his Achaeans army from the war. Power conflict is evident in this case since Agamemnon aims to demonstrate his authority on the subjects by imposing laws. The dispute of love is also evident in Achilles affection towards Briseis, a slave girl he had earned and never intended to share.

The ultimate anger of Achilles was fueled after the death of Patroclus, his best friend. Hector, the eldest son of Priam, had killed Patroclus in combat in the absence of Achilles after he had a conflict with king Agamemnon. Peleus, the son, had a close relationship with Patroclus whom he referred to as “a little girl who runs at her mothers’ side to be carried” and had dedicated his life assuring Patroclus safety. The simile builds up the audience understanding of Achilles anger towards Hector. Peleus’s son decides to return to war and brutally murders Hector and drags his corpse as a vengeance. The strife, in this case, was courtesy of vengeance for the loss of a Patroclus, a dear friend to Achillies. The passages characterize Achilles as loyal friend and leader to Achaeans, particularly Patroclus who was supposed to follow his footsteps.   

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