The Odyssey versus Agamemnon Ancient Greek literature has always attracted attention of many readers by its mysteries, brave heroes and their unusual adventures. Both The Odyssey by Homer and “Agamemnon” by Aeschylus belong to the greatest works of antic culture. These two masterpieces tell the reader about the famous period of the Trojan War which became a turning point in the history of ancient Greece. Aeschylus who considered himself a humble successor of the great Homer skillfully and in an intricate way complemented the story about the heroes of the Trojan War and made some considerable and important additions to the Greek epos. His story about Agamemnon sacrificing his own daughter Iphigenia and the further resolution of this conflict if had been used in The Odyssey would have spoilt the effect of virtue and greatness of the Greek heroes proclaimed by Homer. The Odyssey depicts besides the smart and ingenious hero Odysseus a rich gallery of courageous Greek kings who managed to unite and lead their people against a common enemy the Asian city of Troy.
It was the first time when numerous Greek kingdoms had united and that became a crucial moment in the process of development of their national and cultural identity. Moreover, this war became an impetus of establishment of Greek character and self-realization, the main attributes of which were honor and greatness. These two characteristics were essential for Greeks. They indicated great achievements of people both on the battlefield and in common life. The reward for these achievements was fame that played a very important role for each hero and brought sense to their life. In Book 8, lines 78-84 of The Odyssey we can see how high fame is valued in Greece.
Homer’s epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey created a classical setting for Greek Heroes. The poems are full of battles, peril and adventures that allow the heroic characters be courageous. The heroes face a barrage of arrows with out flinching and are merciless enough to kill many men with out regret. The heroic characters battle for love, duty, and to protect there homes and families. A ...
“‘In time, when hunger and thirst were turned away, the Muse brought to the minstrel’s mind a song of heroes whose great fame rang under heaven. It was intolerable for a warrior to die without fame that is why the characters of Homeric epos committed sometimes even foolhardy deeds trying to attain respect and popularity of their people. Agamemnon by Aeschylus was written at least two hundred years after The Odyssey. The time could not help changing the outlook of the people of that period. Aeschylus followed Homers traditions of depicting famous heroes, but the main accent of his works was made on the prevailing role of fate in peoples lives and inevitable responsibility for their deeds or deeds of their ancestors. Thus, Agamemnon, a courageous warrior and a great hero of the Trojan War, was to be meanly killed by his wife in revenge for his sacrificing their daughter Iphigenia. This fact was so outrageous that even the old men from the chorus could not believe that such a great hero who was one of the winners of the Trojan War was fated to be murdered by his own wife: “Must he give blood for generations gone, die for those slain and in death pile up more death to come for the blood shed, what mortal else who hears shall claim he was born clear of the dark angel?” (Lines 1338-1342) If the episode of sacrificing Agamemnons daughter and his honorless death from the hands of his own wife had been included into The Odyssey the overall atmosphere of greatness and fame of the heroes of the Trojan War would have been clouded.
The heroes who were highly respected by people and even similized to gods could not die so awkwardly. The task of those characters was to inspire people to commit great deeds that would be appreciated by many people and become history. Sources: 1. Aeschylus. Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, The Eumenides. Translation by Vellacott, P.
The Penguin Classics. London: Penguin Books. 2. Homer. The Odyssey. Translation by Shewring, W.
Beowulf John Meister 92196 The early English epic Beowulf is filled with a marvelous hero, ghastly villains, far off lands, and deeds of great valor. These are some of the reasons why Beowulf is a great example of an early English epic. Beowulf is an epic because it has action that consists of deeds of great valor, the setting of Beowulf is in vast scope covering great lands and far off places, ...
Oxford University Press,1980..