Famous Greeks: Achilles and Agamemnon

No contemporary self-help manual on leadership could offer a better example than the conflict on the plains of Troy between Achilles and Agamemnon (1250 B.C.). King of Mycenae and commander-in-chief of the Achaean army, Agamemnon had been promoted to a position beyond his competency. Unsure of himself and devoid of ideas, he is challenged for leadership by the “best of the Achaeans,” Achilles. Achilles has all the heroic virtues lacking in Agamemnon. In the judgment of his peers, he is far more qualified than Agamemnon to lead them to victory over the Trojans. Their struggle for leadership will cost the lives of thousands, and through the genius of Homer, it will be transformed into a timeless lesson in the moral dimension of politics.

Questions to Consider:

1. What is Homer’s view of the question of free will versus fate? What is your view?

2. Do you believe that Achilles or Agamemnon is the more admirable character? Who is more true to life?

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