Atreus’s son Agamemnon is the ruler of Argos and the brother of Menelaus

Atreus’s son Agamemnon is the ruler of Argos and the brother of Menelaus. He is the most important character after Achilles in Homer’s epic. King Agamemnon is an example of a man with great power and responsibility. He is the commander-in-chief of the Achaean army. He has lot of resemblance with Achilles. Although he is not as brave as Achilles but possesses same type of hot temper and pride as well. His personality and his social positions in the Iliad greatly influence the decisions taken by him throughout the epic. Agamemnon is a man motivated by the need to maintain power, dominance and control. Power is the only motivating source that influences Agamemnon’s actions throughout the epic.
Agamemnon is a loving brother as it is Menelaus’s fight to get her wife Helen back, but Agamemnon is not only fighting the battle but also leading it. Paris, the son of Priam disobeyed the rules of xenia by seducing Menelaus’s wife Helen and taking her away with him to Troy. Agamemnon is totally aware of the critical importance of family order in his society and that Helen must be returned by any means necessary if his society is to remain strong and cohesive. This is why Agamemnon along with his fellow Greek warriors declared war on Troy.
Agamemnon is very possessive about his status and for him the most important thing is to win. He is proud of his rank and accomplishments. Yet despite Agamemnon’s leadership, he is less admired now by his subjects for fighting an unpopular war. He is portrayed as less intelligent and less forward thinking than his wife, believing prosperity will shield him from misfortune. His character flaws come to the forefront when he refuses the ransom of the Apollo priest Chryses to get her daughter Chryseis back whom Agamemnon had won as a war prize. Agamemnon sees no reason to return his war prize- Chryseis. According to him to give back his war plunder will be seen as sign of weakness. Agamemnon’s refusal shows his rude behaviour and also the pride he holds in being the commander. He can never compromise with his pride and the status that he enjoys. These are the signs of a bad leader. He lacks leadership qualities which are required to be a great warrior. There is something fatal, resigned, in his every word. His language is particularly blunt. In the context of the play, Agamemnon might perhaps be considered over-masculine. There are several moments when his deeds, especially the sacrifice of his daughter, are considered too “daring” by other characters. Daring is used synonymously or euphemistically in the play to mean ambitious. When Agamemnon wanted to sail to Troy, the winds were against him. So, he sacrificed his own daughter to gain favourable winds, and made an enemy of his wife forever.
Agamemnon is certainly an ambitious man who wants to conquer Troy for which he even sacrifices his daughter Iphigeneia to Artemis but he lacks foresight. It’s his over ambitious nature that he even let go off his family, his oikos, becomes the ultimate reason for his death. He cares quite a bit for his brother and is not particularly caring about the rest of his family. Though Agamemnon is a great Greek warrior yet he fails when it comes to being dutiful as a father and as a husband.
Agamemnon, while a great warrior, is not the smartest man in the war. Before book one of The Iliad, he took the woman Chryseis as a prize of war and made her his concubine. Her father, Chryses, a priest of the sun god Apollo, demands her return. Agamemnon refuses, so Apollo sends a plague down into the Achaean camp, and many soldiers die. Agamemnon’s councillors, Odysseus and Nestor tell Agamemnon to return the girl to her father, but he refuses. He can accept the destruction but can not lower down his pride which shows his arrogance just like Achilles who refuses to return to the battle even after the apologies and gifts. Agamemnon doesn’t uphold the status of a good leader because a good leader is the one who first thinks of his soldiers and the other warriors accompanying him, rather he first thinks of himself. Agamemnon is convinced to return Chryseis, but on only one condition. He demands that the woman Briseis, who is the concubine of the great hero Achilles, be given to him in her place. Agamemnon is insistent, and Achilles is furious. But as Agamemnon is his leader, Achilles has no choice and Briseis is brought to Agamemnon’s tents. This colossal blunder nearly costs Agamemnon the war. Agamemnon’s egocentric behaviour forms a plot for neikos . Achilles refuses to fight the war for him and the battle without Achilles becomes a devastating loss for the Achaeans. Agamemnon’s reasoning for taking Briseis from Achilles tells us all we need to know about his character. The man is a bully, and he especially cannot stand for anyone to have more or better than he does. Despite of Agamemnon’s strong and heartless character, he is seen weeping in book nine where he feels very disappointed because of their constant failures in the battles. Agamemnon’s weak side is reflected here where he feels distressed by thinking of the outcomes of the war.
What is clear from Homer’s representation of Agamemnon is that he is a deeply flawed character. One of his greatest faults is his inability to realise that as a king he must not succumb to his own desires and emotions. He refuses to accept that the position of authority that he finds himself in demands responsibility and that his personal whims and desires should be secondary to the needs of his community. Agamemnon is weak; he vacillates. During periods of depression and discouragement, he makes wrong decisions, and he is sometimes unfair. Even though Agamemnon is a highly accomplished warrior, as a king he often exhibits, contrary to the ideal of kingship: stubbornness, cowardice and at certain times even immaturity.

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