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Revenge Essay

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Throughout history, revenge, or vengeance, has been altered by several cultures and even the American culture. This is shown throughout many ancient greek epics. Throughout these two epics, what is just revenge and what the action of revenge is are much different than what Revenge is seen through today’s society. Revenge is the main theme in The Iliad, with Achilles’ revenge on Agamemnon and Hector, and in The Odyssey, with Poseidon’s revenge on Odysseus and Odysseus’s revenge on the Suitors, and these epics define how revenge was seen in the ancient Greek world.
Revenge in The Iliad it the main theme and drives men to do things that they would not normally do. The main example of this is Achilles wanting revenge on Agamemnon. The first book of the Iliad explains that Achilles wants revenge because Agamemnon is forced to return Chryseis, his war bride, to her father, and he decides to take Achilles war bride from him. According to “Some Thoughts about the Origins of ‘Greek Ethics’”, by Nicholas D. Smith, “Agamemnon’s unjust affront to Achilles leads to and extraordinarily deadly retaliation, the ultimate outcome of which is that multitudes of these men’s innocent allies are killed unnecessarily”(smith 10). This is out of character for Achilles, who would normally be the first man into battle, not sitting one out. By “rejecting even the most earnest and impressive entreaties Agamemnon offers, and increasingly making decisions which are rationally indefensible”, he shows how much his wanting of revenge has turned him into a madman (smith 10). His only desire is to get revenge for his loss. It takes the death of Patroclus, his dear friend, to bring him back to the war, which he has left.
The death of Patroclus not only forces Achi...


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...rses the murder of Agamemnon. As Dilworth states in “The fall of Troy and the Slaughter of the Suitors: The Ultimate Symbolic Correspondence in the Odyssey”;
The slaughter of the suitors reverses and sets right the murder of Agamemnon. As the story is recalled in the Odyssey, Aegisthus used twenty men to ambush and kill Agamemnon. From Ithaca the chief suitor, Antinous, Sent twenty men to ambush and kill Telemachus. He would have suffered the fate of Agamemnon. So might Odysseus, for whom the story of Agamemnon is a warning. Instead the suitors die at a banquet, in corrective balance to the murder of Agamemnon at a banquet. (Dilworth)
This shows that Odysseus’s revenge of the suitors is not only sets right what Odysseus knows it sets right, but it also sets right what has not been set right by anyone else, it balances the revenge throughout all of the Odyssey.



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