Achilles, Modern Soldier
I was privy to many discussions and arguments that took place behind the backs of the soldiers’ leadership as to why they should do what they were being commanded to do by them. All too often soldiers begin to become complacent when they feel over taxed by their leadership or taken advantage of and become pathos driven when they cannot see the fruits of their labor coming to fruition during war or even peacekeeping missions; especially long deployments such as Iraq, Afghanistan or Kosovo. Achilles speech in “The Envoys Plead with Achilles” is pathos driven because it exemplifies aspects of emotionally driven complacency experienced in war due to selfish deceitful leadership, length of deployments, and a feeling that as a soldier you may receive a lack of recognition for your valiant efforts. Often soldiers will complain that their leadership is leading them into a war for profit. Achilles is no exception as he states that Agamemnon is leading them in a war for his own very selfish reasons, “For that matter, what drove the Argives to make war on Troy … if not for Helen of the lovely hair?” (Homer 8). He goes on to state that not only does Agamemnon already have a wife, but he has also taken away Brisies the only woman Achilles has ever truly loved. In Jonathan Shay’s book titled Achilles in Vietnam Shay states: We must understand the cultural context to see that this episode is more than a squabble between two soldiers over a woman. The Prize of Honor was voted by the troops for Achilles’ valor in combat. A modern equivalent might be a commander telling a soldier, ‘I’ll take that Congressional Medal of Honor of yours, because I don’t have one’ (5-6). Reacting to Agamemnon's threatened seizure of Briseis, Achilles grew angry, almost drawing his sword against the Greeks' military leader. His emotion was expressed as anger against violations of one's honor. There was a huge betrayal of trust between Agamemnon, the commander in...
Cited: Corbett, Edward P.J., and Robert J. Connors. Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student. 4th.
New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
Homer. “Iliad.” Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student. 4th. Edward P.J. Corbett and Robert
J. Connors. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. 6-9.
Shay, Jonathan. Achilles in Vietnam. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1994.
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