By Nigel G. Wilson
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To be sure, Achilles’ reentry spells his supremacy over his rival, Hector, and the destruction of Troy, and it does guarantee him kleos aphthiton. But these things are no longer at issue. Achilles now is dead to his former desires: his willingness for combat is now controlled by a desire for vengeance. 368– 613). 249–83), who suggests they should regroup inside the city walls. 284– 309). The Trojan leader succumbs to an arrogant impulse towards an ill-considered heroism (Rutherford 1985:135).
Both Achilles and Agamemnon are tested and found wanting. Achilles, tall, handsome, excelling at war, has no sense of obligation to his community (aidos’, on this concept, see Redfield 1975:115). This is something he must learn. 73–84). In the clash with Agamemnon Achilles’ sense of shame (aidos) before his community and his gods is tested. He fails. Martial prowess is not balanced by such moral virtues as endurance, self-control, patience, empathy, gentleness, loyalty, friendship, and honour. Agamemnon, on the other hand, fails to respect the needs of his companions.
35–454). That the proposal so easily misfires tells much of Agamemnon as a leader. 200–6). When Agamemnon’s assembly misfires and the troops rush eagerly to get ready to go home, Hera sends Athena to urge Odysseus to stop them. 212–42). The means and the ease by which Odysseus restores order illustrate the firm class divisions within this hierarchical society. Notwithstanding the army’s acquiescence in Odysseus’ action, Thersites does seem to mouth the common view. 149–71. There Achilles, rejecting the power of Agamemnon, steps beyond the proper limits of society.