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Agamemnon was a ruler of Mycenae, an empire of mythical Greece in accordance to the Greek tradition. He headed the Greeks during the Trojan War and is rendered as brave and egotistical leader whose faults at times resulted to disasters and ultimately as the chief cause of his demise. His father, Atreus was the ruler of Mycenae and was killed by Agamemnon’s brother to seize kinship from him.
Together, the two brothers sought refuge at Sparta under the shield of King Tyndareos who even offered his daughters to them for marriage. Agamemnon murdered Clytemnestra husband to have her as a wife. He later went back to Mycenae with his wife where he murdered his uncle in order to become the king.
Agamemnon as a Leader
Agamemnon was appointed to lead the Greeks in a war meant to reprocess his brother’s wife, Helen, who had been forcefully married in another kingdom called Troy. Agamemnon made the necessary arrangements for various ships to ferry the Greeks to the kingdom for them to repossess Helen. However, he blasphemed goddess Artemis claiming that he could hunt and slay a holy stag unlike the goddess who couldn’t.
This was just before they sailed to Troy for battle where Agamemnon’s insults resulted to them being disciplined as the winds died so that they were unable to navigate, until Agamemnon made a sacrifice to the divinity of one of his daughters. This reflects that according to the Greek mythology, man’s destiny must occur and there are boundaries that man cannot surpass even when in leadership.
Moreover, man has to encounter his destiny properly and with respect with as much prominence as he could gather. Agamemnon was convinced that he could alter his destiny through his behavior of having a bloated ego and much pride and therefore was to be subjected to punishment by gods.
During the nine years of war against Troy the Greeks captured a number of the cities belonging to Troy although they were unable to size the town of Troy. The Greeks won the war led by their warrior Achilles and as a result, Agamemnon forcefully took the daughter of a minister who served god Apollo. He rudely state to the minister that “let me not find you tarrying about our ships, nor yet coming hereafter. Your scepter of the god and your wreath shall profit you nothing. I will not free her.
She shall grow old in my house at Argos far from her own home, busying herself with her loom and visiting my couch; so go, and do not provoke me or it shall be the worse for you” (Nagle 7). When Agamemnon failed to return the daughter, god Apollo shattered the Greek militaries using a pestilence. This did not trouble Agamemnon who chose to retain the daughter and this annoyed the Greek hero Achilles, who refused to give a hand in the wars anymore.
Thus the Greeks lost their wars drastically until their hero offered to help them again which reinforced the military. This made the Greeks to chase the Trojans and eventually captured the city, Troy and repossessed Helen. Agamemnon’s victory was clear as he stated that “Hear me, Trojans, Dardanians, and allies.
The victory has been with Menelaus; therefore give back Helen with all her wealth, and pay such fine as shall be agreed upon, in testimony among them that shall be born hereafter” (Nagle 57) Following their victory, Agamemnon took to his procession prophetess Cassandra who was the Trojan noblewoman.
Cassandra and Agamemnon returned home to Mycenae only to be killed by his wife’s lover, Aegisthus whom she had met when Agamemnon was busy fighting in Troy. This was irrespective of being warned by Cassandra who could foresee their death which, he chose to ignore. Eventually, his death was revenged by his children who killed their mother and her lover and seized the throne from them.
Agamemnon’s Reliance on Military Assistance
Agamemnon is outwitted by Achilles whom the Greek military could not operate without.
All the same, Agamemnon represented leadership and authority in organizing as well as commanding his military to battle as he states that “The bands that bear your shields shall be wet with the sweat upon your shoulders, your hands shall weary upon your spears, your horses shall steam in front of your chariots, and if I see any man shirking the fight, or trying to keep out of it at the ships, there shall be no help for him, but he shall be a prey to dogs and vultures” (Nagle 28).
He is not portrayed as in need of any assistance from the warrior since he takes a lead in the battlefield as he exercises his bravery by killing many Trojans although he finally quit due to him being injured.
However, Agamemnon cannot operate without the Greek warrior, Achilles and when he tries to abandon him he faces dire consequences where some of his men are killed and the whole military is defeated in a battle. He disrespects Achilles by snatching Briseis, his lover from him to emphasize the significance of his position as a king as his exercise of force to meet his interests.
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Achilles’s wrath is seen by him withdrawing from the military thereby, losing a number of his men. After disasters consume the Greek military, Agamemnon lures Achilles into the battlefield by returning his lover and awarding him processions which, makes him to rejoin the military. Agamemnon‘s actions emphasizes the significance of the warrior’s assistance in the war irrespective of his kingship. Since he is the king and was enthroned to rule the Mycenae, Achilles was frightened by him and succumbed to his commands.
Agamemnon’s ruler-ship is characterized by violence and tragedies in a struggle to achieve power. As a result the gods were not appeased with him as it is pointed out that “Let me tell you- and it shall surely be- he shall pay for this insolence with his life” (Nagle 13).
Therefore, his drastic collapse from the peak of victory was mainly as a result of his assaults to the gods and the warriors as well as his bloodguilt which ran into the entire family. The tragedy befalls the hero at the time he has attained victory over the Trojans. Instead, he was expecting to be praised for his bravery and success but he encounters god’s wrath since his throne is grabbed from him and he faces his demise.
Nagle, Brendan. The Ancient World, a social and cultural history. 7Ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. 2009.