Journal III 9/14/2017
Thursday, September 7 11:10–12:30 Class Notes
Embassy to Achilles
-In the case of Phoenix story about Meleagros it is a negative exemplum.
-Phoenix also uses his stance as a father figure which is an ethos argument.
-Ajax uses a blood price argument, which is to say that he will not even take reparations for his perceived slight
-Impact you have on others
Theory of Mind
-the ability to predict characters behaviors based on their mindset
-Putting yourself into the shoes of others and understanding their experience as them.
Book 9 Exercise
Should Achilles have accepted Agamemnon’s offer?
-He has an obligation to his people, to attain honor, he is a warrior, it is a part of his prophesy.
-Glory is not worth his life, He was disrespected, the people didn’t stand up for him, He had the right to choose his destiny.
Why are you the kind of person who was swayed towards your answer — considering we all have heard the same arguments.-Achilles was for the people and he didn’t get the same loyalty from his comrades. I think that I agree with the decision not to reenter the fray because loyalty is important to me and if those I support wouldn’t support me I would feel slighted too. In my own life, I feel that I am always ready to rush to the aid of others but have had instances when this isn’t reciprocated. I think I tend to shut myself away from people in these instances because I feel like the trust is gone. Gifts are good and all, but knowing someone supports me in their actions is far more significant. I am also fairly self-sufficient and was brought up that way — I don’t think that I view myself as part of a larger group. I also think that as a value I don’t identify with a short life full of glory compared to a simple long life.
Saturday, September 9 Read Book 10–12 7:30–9:30
Sunday, September 9 Answered Study Questions for Book 10–12 11:30–1:00
1. Make a list of all the decisions Agamemnon has made so far in the Iliad. Rank each decision on a scale of 1–10 (ten being the “best” decision and 1 being the “worst” decision). Explain your reasoning for each ranking.
1. Decides not to take Chryses’ offer for his daughter Chyseis
-I gave this decision a 1/10 because Agamemnon was a poor leader and disrespectful. He not only put his army at risk (and lost many men) but he also showed that the only thing important to him was his red-minded view of power. That, no one could tell him what to do or influence his decisions to show his superiority and power over all others — including a man who was willing to pay for his daughter back.
2. Decides to give Chryseis back after Apollo’s blight
I gave this decision a 10/10 but I feel he does not deserve the credit for it. He never should have declined the initial offer and already got punished…so did he really have a decision or was he backed into a corner at this point?
3. Takes Briseis
I gave this decision a 5/10 because I think that his choice was more complex than it originally seemed to me. I think that as a king and head of a large coalition it was probably incredibly hard to maintain order and control. Agamemnon was slighted by Achilles rightfully accusing him of putting himself above the entire army. Agamemnon needed to show everyone that his word was still law and he did was he had to. That said, I gave it such a low score because he lacked the foresight to realize who he was messing with and pays for his foolishness.
4. Tells the Greeks to they are going back home (as a joke)
I gave this decision a 1/10 because it was a terrible strategy. It reminds me of the those moments in life when you look back and cannot believe you did something so immature at a point In time. Here, Agamemnon was a perfect example and watches his folly go horribly wrong. Hopefully, with some self-reflection Agamemnon would feel the same way about this terrible idea.
5. Convinces Menelaus to kill the man begging for his life
I gave this decision a 7/10 because while I understand the logic behind killing people in war, it continues a pattern of short-sighted decision making on Agamemnon’s part. He could accumulate a great deal of money ransoming men back to their fathers and simply kill them the next day. Instead, he only sees the short-term gain f ending their lives.
6. Decides to Give Briseis back
I gave this an 8/10 because it was just his only play left. It was the right choice but he only arrived at the decision after an immense amount a failure. Furthermore, he won’t admit his own fault by going himself but instead sends emissaries.
7. Kills the man begging for his life during his Aristeia
I gave this an 8/10 because again, he is short sighted in not ransoming the man. That said, its war he didn’t go across the ocean to ransom people.
Overall, Agamemnon makes a variety of poor choices but his character lacks any significant depth. He is simply a place prop for Achilles and his character development and in turn, extremely one dimensional. In a lot of ways, Agamemnon plays the part of the fool throughout the epic. Each of his decisions the next misstep in an almost comical character. His foolishness seems to be climaxing in his Aristeia, as he is perhaps seen in the most positive light since the beginning of the story. Yet, as mentioned in class, it is simply an appetizer to the main course which will be Achilles Aristeia.
2. Compared to Diomedes in Book 5 does Agamemnon seem more or less “heroic” in battle? Be specific in your comparisons.
-Compared to Diomedes Aristeia, Agamemnon’s is far less heroic by typical standards of heroism. First, they both are spurred on by the power of gods. Diomedes is powered by Athena who gives him incredible strength. Not only does he dispatch of many Trojan heroes but he is also able to contend with and even wounds multiple gods. These include Aphrodite (not very impressive) but also Ares, who is the God of War (very impressive). In contrast, Agamemnon is powered by hate and blood rain into a kind of bloodlust which seems to be loss of control and thus less valorous. Agamemnon also only defeats heroes but no gods. I think that the common conception of a hero has a lot to do with motivation. In this case I think that Diomedes exhibits a more admirable motive for fighting and is thus seen more heroically. Specifically, he is powered by Athena, who is the goddess of wisdom — this seems like a solid deity to be supported and powered by. In comparison, Agamemnon is powered by Hate, this almost paints him as the bad guy. While killing in war is something all the “heroes” in the epic do, their specific motivations certainly effect how they are perceived as characters. In this, Agamemnon is seen far less heroically, killing those who supplicate themselves to him like they are nothing. This also further pushes the idea that he lacked control as it would have been in his best interest to collect their sizable ransoms and simply kill them another day.
Tuesday, September 12 11:10–12:30 Class Notes
Speaking in another persona
Achilles and Agamemnon similarities:
-Both have spear-one wives
Both lose or almost lose a companion
-Petrokolos vs. Menelaus
Both have an Aristeia
Both receive appeals for ransom
-From Briseis father
Agamemnon as a leader
-Tries to rectify his wrong
-He seems to be most concerned with his status
-he is inspired by hate and begins to gear up
-Ekphrasis (description of a physical artifact in literature)
Apotropaic Symbol (that which turns away)
-He has a Gorgon Shield
Know 11. 1–160 and kill list of Agamemnon
Wednesday, September 12 Answered Question for Book 13 5:00–7:00 pm
1. List all the gods so far who have participated in the Trojan War. Whose side do they fight for? Why? Wherever possible explain how you know their motives for supporting one side against the other.
-Fights for the Greeks because of the History of the conflict in which, Paris chose Aphrodite over her. She seems to hold more of a grudge than Athena does and is bent on the Trojans destruction.
-Fights for the Greeks for the same reasons as Hera, she is turned away by Paris and thus seeks revenge. She helps Diomedes by powering him up and also spurs the conflict on by losing the arrow that hits Menelaus.
-Fights for the Trojans in support of Paris who chose her over Hera and Athena. She is a weak fighter but ends up saving paris during his duel with Menelaus.
Fights for the Trojans because of the menis he feels after his priest, Chryses calls on him for vindication. He is heavily involved throughout the conflict first sending flaming arrows at the Greeks on the beach and also stepping unto the battlefield.
Zeus is seems to just want to watch the world burn. He goes back and forth favoring Trojans and then the Greeks. He largely seems to stop Hera and Athena from stomping the Trojans telling them and others not to intervene multiple times. This includes the duel between Hector and Ajax.
Fights for the Trojans at the behest of his brother Apollo. He is wounded by Diomedes and retreats from the battle.
Is Invoked by Zeus to simply cause carnage and panic on the battlefield