Greek Literature Weekly Journal Update Four
Reflections for September 13, 2016 — September 15, 2016
September 13, 2016 Class Reflection 11:10 a.m. — 12:30 p.m. :
Today’s class period was spent dissecting the persuasive methods utilized by Odysseus, Phoenix and Ajax in Book 9 of The Iliad. The group visits Achilles to persuade him to resume fighting in the war per Agamemnon’s request. Although their efforts prove to be in vain, the techniques used to call Achilles to action were inarguably eloquent. The Embassy also illustrates perfect utilization of ethos, pathos, and logos.
Odyssues is first to present his arguements. He primarily incorporates ethos in his speech to encourage Achilles’ return. Odysseus reports the Trojans currently hold the advantage in battle and that the demise of Achilles and all of Greece seems inevitable. His narration of recent events is carefully worded with the intention of motivating Achilles to fight. Unfortuantely Odysseus’ reputation as an eloquent speaker preceds him, causing Achilles to be cautious of his motives. Achilles questions whether the Achaians really need him, or if Agamemnon has sent a master manipulator of words to ensure his desired outcome. Although his plan does not work, it is a prime example of how an endorsment from someone of reputable character has the power to influence the actions of others.
Phoenix’s reasons for why Achilles should return showcases the use of pathos as a persuasive technique. He basically uses the respect Achilles has gained for him as a father figure to persuade the hero into action. Playing on the hero’s emotions as a method of persuassion epitomizes the use of pathos. Phoenix attempts to rouse feelings of guilt in Achilles by recounting their long history together and coupling that with his desire for Achilles to return to war. He even resorts to comparing Meleagar’s circumstances to that of Achilles hoping to invoke fears of not gaining kleos. The argument causes Achilles to reevaluate his stance on the conflict at hand; thus demonstrating how manipulating someone’s emotions can be very persuassive .
Ajax includes logos in his persuassive speech to Achilles. He uses their connection as warriors to explain why Achilles’ return is both logical and necessary. He essentially argues that the Achains are suffering in battle and as their best warrior, his presence among the Danaan troops is imperative. He also points out that while refusing Agamemnon’s gift bomb may seem apporpriate to appease Achilles’ feelings, it is completely illogical. His objective perspective on the situation further prompts Achilles to reconsider his next course of action, thus verifying the claim that logical arguements can be very persuasive.
Assignment for September 13, 2016
September 14, 2016
- Wrote Class Reflection in my room(5:20 p.m. — 6:22 p.m.)
- Read The Iliad Book 13 in my room (7:00 p.m — 8:18 p.m.)
- Answered Book 13 questions in my room( 8:19 p.m. — 9:14 p.m.)
- Studied for the weekly quiz in my room(9:18 p.m. —
- Dieties who have participated in the war
- Zeus- He has supported the Trojans during the war. Zeus does this as a favor to Thetis. He shows his support by sending Agamemnon a false promise of victory through a dream in Book 2. His favor towards the Trojans is also shown when he gives them the upper hand during the battle in Book 8 and when he rains blood on the Achaians in Book 11.
- Thetis- She supports the Trojans in battle. Her devotion to the Trojans came as a result of Achilles’ request. After having Briseis taken from him, Achilles asks his mother to request that Zeus favor the Trojans to avenge the violation the Achaians committed against him.
- Hera- The goddess favors the Danaans. Her support stems from her desire to get back at Aphrodite for losing the Apple of Discord to her.
- Athena- This goddess also favors the Danaans. She too feels as though she should have been awarded the Apple of Discord. Losing it to Aphrodite lead to her subsequent support of the side Aphrodite opposed.
- Aphrodite- She supports Troy. Her assistance to the Trojan cause was brought about because of the bribe she offered Paris to win the Apple of Discord. To win the apple, Aphrodite offered to give Helen to Paris. Paris accepted the terms and awarded Aphrodite the title of “The Fairest”. When the Trojan War started as a result of Helen’s second marriage, Aphrodite began to support the Trojans to protect her investments.
- Ares- This god has shown support for the Trojans. He only displayed his support in Book 5 when he joins the battle after Menelaus gets shot. His intervention ends when he is wounded by Diomedes.
- Apollo- He has shown his support for the Trojans. This became evident in Book 1 when he allowed the Danaans to be plagued after taking Chryseis from Chryses, Apollo’s Trojan priest. His support for Troy was reitterated when he helped Aphrodite by removing her wounded son from battle after she was injured in Book 5.
- Poseidon- The god supports the Achaians. Seeing the discouragement among the Danaans as a result of the Trojan’s success in recent battles prompted Poseidon to encourage several soldiers to resume fighting and renew their strength. He even goes as far as taking on the form of an Achain soldier to engage in battle.
September 15, 2016 Class Reflection 11:10 a.m. — 12:30 p.m.:
The first part of our class period was devoted to taking the weekly quiz. The latter half was spent analyzing the leadership skills exhibited by Agamemnon. The class was then seperated into two groups. One group was charged with finding textual evidence of his commendable leadership. The other group was responsible for finding examples of his poor leadership. After analyzing his conduct from both perspectives, I feel as though Agamemnon is a poor leader but demonstrates maturation as the story progresses.
During the exposition of the epic, Agamemnon displays extremely poor leadership qualities; one of which is his short temperment. When Chryses attempts to pay a ransome for Chryseis, he sharply rejects him (Book 1 Line 24–32). He also displayed a short temper in reaction to Achilles calling the assembly when the Achaians were trying to decipher the cause of the plague( Book 1 Line 53–120). An inability to communicate with other leaders is indicative of poor leadership capabilities. Agamemnon also conveys a selfish disposition and oppressive demeanor . His threats to take the war prizes of Odysseus, Ajax, and Achilles confirms this. His behavior during the the return of Chryseis and the taking of Briseis emphasizes his egocentric and tyranical nature.
Despite his short comings, the manner in which Agamemnon performs in the latter parts of the eptic showcases his growth. Listening to Nestor’s advice to build fortifications around the Danaan ships demonstrates an improvement in in his collaboration efforts with other leaders. It also shows that he has began to consider the welfare of others to a greater extent. Agamemnon’s restlessness in Book 10 out of concern for the troops and the Achaian’s performance shows a decrease in self absorption and improvement in governance over the army. His decisions to prevent Menelaus from fighting, dipatching spies, and activly participating in battle all demonstrate his growth as a leader.
While his management of the Achaian forces does improve, I still believe his skills graduate from subpar to mediocre.
Assignment for September 15, 2016:
September 16, 2016
- Read Book 14 in the CHS 5th floor study lounge (6:43 p.m. — 7:22 p.m.)
September 17, 2016
- Read Book 15 of the Iliad at home in my dining room (10:04 a.m. — 11:05 a.m.)
September 18, 2016
- Read The Iliad Book 16 in my dorm room (8:10 p.m. — 9:19 p.m.)
- Answered the reading questions (9:19 p.m. — 9:54 p.m.)
- From a literary perspective, Hera’s seduction of Zeus acts a relief. The beginning of Book 14 recounts the heavy losses the Danaans have suffered. It also conveys the despair that is building among their leadership despite the optimism others like Odysseus and Diomedes continue to maintain. Hera’s actions provide a sort of distraction from the blood and gore that has been at the center of recent chapters.
Hera’s seduction of Zeus was shocking from a logical standpoint as well. For one, I was apalled that Zeus never questioned his wife’s motives. Both dieities have remained firm in their support for the mortal armies they respectively favor. That stubborness has lead to friction between them throughout the epic. With that knowledge I would question every decision and subsequent action performed by anyone that held views opposite of my own.
The reputations each god holds also made this scene of seduction very surprising. Zeus is known for his absolute control in governing the gods and his promiscuity (as displayed by Zeus’ lengthy recitation of his numerous extramarital affairs). Hera is known for her jealously because of her husband’s infidelity. Both of these aspects of the gods’ characters contribute to their notoriously complicated marriage. Because of this I found it surprising that a god like Zeus, being known for his controling and composed persona, would act on such a passionate whim. Additionally, with knowledge that Hera’s actions are usually prompted by her insatiable desire for revenge or to manipulate events to get her way; logic would dictate once again that her motives and her unusual ability to seduce her husband so suddenly should be questioned.
Patroklos is about 20% responsible for his death. The other 80% of the guilt should be evenly distributed among Agamemnon, Achilles, Nestor, and Zeus. Agamemnon is responsible because of his actions in Book 1. If he had not engaged in the confrontation with Achilles, Achilles would have remained in battle and the epic would probably be 23 books shorter in length. Achilles is responsible for two reasons; the first being his abstenance from battle. The second reason is he gave Patroklos consent to reenter the battle. Had he not given his friend permission to take his army and armor into battle, Patroklos may not have died in the Trojan War. Nestor should be held accountable because he proposes that Patroklos join the battle in Book 11. That proposal initiates Patroklos’ interest in returing to war and ultimately contributes to getting him killed. Zeus is partially responsible for the death of Patroklos because he declares that dying in the war shall be his fate at the end of Book 14. His control of mortal fates makes Patroklos’ death in this way inescapable. Lastly, Patroklos is responsible for his death because he volunteered to reenter the battle. Despite the sympathy he felt for the Achaians, his efforts were not destined to be a determining factor in the war — the controbutions of Achilles were. He also disobeyed Achilles’ tacticle intructions. Achilles directs Patroklos to assume a defensive position in battle. Patroklos was supposed to defend the Danaan camp and return to Achilles. He was explicitly told not to pursue the Trojans offensively once they began to retreat. He did not listen. Foolishly volunteering to put himself in a losing battle shows bad judgement which therefore makes him responsible.
Total Hours Devoted to Studying: 10 hours and 16 minutes