Force carries the story, always the center of the plot. Force “enslaves” both people and the gods. However it enslaves them in a productive way. Force is rage. It results from an external cause, which causes an uncontrollable inner drive. Force is not a physical action as many people would think. It is not the act of killing or death but it is an emotional response to an external cause. It is the “the true subject, the center of the Iliad” because force always passes from one person to the next. Those with force have the ability to do things no one else can. They get what they want and they do not stop until they get it. Force is defined as “an attribute of physical action or movement,” however not in The Iliad. While force can be physical, the physical is a result rather than a cause; it does not instigate action that moves on the story. The force that is the center of the Iliad is the emotional aspect of force. Agamemnon is affected by force exactly as Weil describes – he is enslaved and blinded by it. Agamemnon is typically respectful of the gods and generally leads his troops well as he attempts to protect his soldiers. However in the first book, an external cause forces him to lose his composure and fall under the pressures of it. Chryses, a priest of Apollo, comes to Agamemnon to ask him for his daughter back. This action modifies Agamemnon’s ability to be rational. Even after his soldiers say “Respect the priest, accept the shining ransom” (1.26), he simply ignores them. His immediate decision is to not give Chryseis back. When people try to convince him, he rages further. After a seer tells Agamemnon why Apollo has been killing off his troops for nine days Agamemnon is described as “furious, his dark heart filled to the brim blazing with anger now, his eyes like searing fire”(1.121-122). Instead of listening he gets mad at him. Had Agamemnon listened, the plot would have been greatly altered and diminished, instead, rage drives on the...
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