Achille's Gift

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In Book 9 of the Illiad translated by Lombardo, Agamemnon offers Achilles gifts to persuade him to go back into battle. The gifts include, seven unfired tripods, ten gold bars, twenty burnished cauldrons, a dozen prizewinning horses, seven women, including Briseus’ daughter, and if they sack Troy, a ship full of bronze and gold, twenty women, the hand of one of his daughters, and seven cities. The gifts were only given when Agamemnon realized that the Greeks would not win the war unless Achilles joined. Agamemnon’s gifts compensated for the one woman he took from Achilles, but did not fulfill the pride he stripped from Achilles.

To others, the compensation offered by Agamemnon seem to compensate more than enough, but to Achilles point of view, his own pride and anger was worth more than the price of all the gifts combined. He wanted Agamemnon to say outright that he was the better man and it was wrong of him to take his prize away, especially in front of the whole Greek army. Achilles saw himself as a half-god and believes he is an equal to Agamemnon’s status. He does not respect Agamemnon as a leader and did not believe in what the Greeks were fighting for.

Achilles, in my opinion should accept the gifts, but not because of Agamemnon’s apology. He was the one who prayed for the gods to give the Trojans an advantage to illustrate his importance in the Greek army. When Agamemnon finally realizes the importance of Achilles and sends him consolation for his deeds, Achilles refuses them and ignored the suffering of what was once his army. He felt his pride was more important than the lives of the many men who have been fighting this long war. Agamemnon is too proud of himself and his arrogance has overcrowded his wisdom.

In the Iliad, both Agamemnon and Achilles are at fault due to their pride and honor. Even though many of these events were caused by divine intervention, Agamemnon and Achilles have let their own problems become more important than the war...
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