What truths about people and life in general are suggested by the story of Argos in The Odyssey?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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If one is looking to how the story of Agamemnon and Argos contrasts to Odysseus and Ithaca, there can be many truths revealed.  The first and most elemental is that the homecoming of the warrior is not always a celebrated one.  Homer was ahead of his time in suggesting that there is a certain level of trauma endured when one goes off to fight in foreign lands and then comes home to a setting that is uncertain.  The domestic discord that Agamemnon experiences reminds us that war carries different emotional valences with it and some of these are not always positive or redemptive.  Another truth that is suggested by the story of Argos is that while the soldiers fight, life does progress in their absence.  Agamemnon's wife has taken a lover in Agamemnon's absence.  Unlike Penelope who faithfully puts her life on hold for Odysseus, Agamemnon's wife has continued with hers despite his absence, demonstrating again how ahead of his time Homer was in recognizing that some soldiers fight two battles.  The first is on the battlefield and the second is when they return from it in trying to piece together their lives after the war.

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