From the book 1 of the Iliad, what impression do you get regarding the character of Agamemnon?

From book 1 of the Iliad, one gets the impression that Agamemnon is stubborn, arrogant, and full of pride. It’s because of this that he insists on taking the largest share of plunder, which in turn leads to his massive argument with Achilles.

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Agamemnon, King of Mycenae and commander-in-chief of the Argive forces, is very similar to his greatest warrior, Achilles. Stubborn, arrogant, and full of pride, he never hesitates to let those around him know who’s boss.

However, there is one crucial difference between the two, one that will come to add fuel to Achilles’s implacable wrath. Agamemnon may be in charge, but he’s not in the same league as Achilles when it comes to the business of fighting. Achilles is streets ahead when it comes to the performance of brave feats on the field of battle, yet Agamemnon still insists on taking the lion’s share of the booty for himself, including Achilles’ concubine, Briseis.

Not surprisingly, Achilles deeply resents Agamemnon’s appropriation of his valuable war prize, and the king’s fateful decision precipitates Achilles’s sullen retreat to his tent, where he will remain sulking until the death of his bosom buddy Patroclus.

It’s clear that Agamemnon’s pride and vanity are responsible for this unfortunate situation. Agamemnon loves being king and all the trappings of kingship that come with it, but his self-enforced distance from his men, especially Achilles, has caused dissension within the ranks—the very last thing an army needs in the middle of such a long, drawn-out battle as this one.

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