Agamemnon: Homer’s Negative Portrait Of A Leader

954 words - 4 pages

Agamemnon was blessed to have such an enormous army, and this is quite possibly the only reason why he was such a powerful leader. If, however, Agamemnon had a smaller army, would he have still been such a strong leader? No, and the reasons are very extensive because not only was he very negative, but he also boasted in his power. Agamemnon was described by Homer as a powerful leader, but he neglected to show us many reasons why he was so strong. The reason why Homer did not show us many of those examples is because the only reason he was strong was because his army was very enormous in size. Throughout history, a great leader has been known to have certain aspects or qualities such as: honesty, encouragement, fairness, wisdom, and even brute strength. Agamemnon does not possess any of these qualities. The story of the Iliad describes a few great leaders and some merely sufficient leaders. Agamemnon is simply a "sufficient leader". Agamemnon shows his gentler side on page 107 lines 136-137. He states, "What I really want is to keep my people safe, not see them dying." Soon after we read that, we realize that he is completely lying. He really cares nothing for his people because in the next line his dialogue becomes very self-centered. He tells how his "prize" was snatched away and that he wants the Argives to fetch him another prize. This is obviously not a good leader. With his strong army, Agamemnon is a pretty good warrior. He is given the respective title as a good leader, but he comes up lacking the qualities that would make him a great leader. Agamemnon is not very wise either. One of the main conflicts in the Iliad was between Agamemnon and Achilles. Agamemnon surely realized that Achilles would be insulted when Briseis was taken away from him. But without thinking of what Achilles could do, he ordered him to hand over Briseis. Because of his fighting skill, Achilles could have easily handled Agamemnon in a battle; therefore, death may have been eminent. Other things may have also happened but Achilles simply chose to withdraw from the war. This act was very harmful to Agamemnon because the loss of Achilles meant the loss of a great warrior. This created a huge trench for the Argives to have to crawl out of. Obviously, the decision to insult Achilles in this manner was not carefully thought through. Agamemnon should have thought twice about stealing Briseis away from Achilles. Other evidence of Agamemnon's lack of wisdom is in the first book. Chryses, Chryseis' father, is a priest of the god Apollo. Even...

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