The Iliad "Gods! How The Son Degenerates From The Sire!"
by Simone Weil

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"Gods! How The Son Degenerates From The Sire!"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

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Context: In the siege of Troy, discouragingly into the tenth year, comes a lull occasioned by a truce and an attempt to settle the dispute through single combat. But Pandarus, goaded by Athene to gain great glory, wounds Menelaus and causes Agamemnon to draw the battle lines again. His exhortations fall on Odysseus' deaf ears, for he has retired apart and has not heard the battle cry. Agamemnon chides him by suggesting he is the first at banquets and the last in battle, and then the king moves on to other men. Diomedes, who later distinguishes himself, is the subject of the Greek commander's sharp tongue, and he listens to the story of his father Tydeus' exploits. Fight against odds, Agamemnon urges, like your father, the lone survivor of an ambush:

"Those fifty slaughter'd in the gloomy vale.He spared but one to bear the dreadful tale.Such Tydeus was, and such his martial fire;Gods! How the son degenerates from the sire!"