Why does Achilles refuse to fight for Agamemnon and the Greeks until the death of Patroclus?

Expert Answers info

athenaia86 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write180 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

In Book 1 of the Iliad, Agamemnon is forced to return the girl Chryseis to her father, a priest of Apollo, in order to end a mysterious plague that has been afflicting the Greek army. Agamemnon is resentful about losing his “prize,” and when Achilles tries to reason with him, Agamemnon lashes out and declares that Achilles must also lose his prize, the girl Briseis. Achilles bristles at Agamemnon’s behaviour and an argument ensues, by the end of which both men are so angry that Achilles decides to quit the battlefield and go home with all his soldiers. Agamemnon has insulted Achilles’s honour, which was an extremely serious thing in Ancient Greek culture. It would take equally serious measures on Agamemnon’s behalf to repair the damage he has done by publicly insulting Achlles, and Achilles is not willing to accept any apologies Agamemnon makes.

Achilles is, of course, the pre-eminent soldier in the Greek army, so when he quits the battlefield, the Greeks lose their advantage...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 983 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write9,107 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write9,093 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write5,416 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial