Homer’s “Iliad,” Euripides’ “Trojan Women,” and Pitre’s Fives and Twenty-fives all include some form of revenge. The most prominent concept of revenge occurs in the Iliad and stems from the wrath of Achilles. In the “Iliad”, The Achaeans seek revenge against the Trojans for taking Helen, the wife of Menelaus, the Greek king. Apollo and Chryses, a priest of Apollo, seek revenge because Agamemnon refused to return Chrysies, the daughter of Chryses, who was taken as a war prize. Achilles seeks revenge against Agamemnon for insulting him and later, after reentering the battle, seeks revenge against the Trojans, particularly Hector, for the death of his dear friend Patroclus.
Achilles’ interest in revenge is established by his sense of honor. For the Greeks, honor is a very important part of their war careers. The arête, pursuit of excellence, is a defining act that all warriors work towards. By taking away Achilles’ war prize, Briseis, whom he won fairly, Agamemnon unjustly shamed Achilles and took away his honor. He expresses to his mother, Thetis, that “Agamemnon has taken away [his] prize and dishonored [him] (Homer 11). Honor for the Greeks, and specifically for the heroes, existed as a big part of their military duty and glory. The wrath of Achilles, and his eventual need for revenge, comes from his need of arête, his rank in the Greek army, and the insult imposed upon him. He considers the act of taking away his prize as a personal attack on is honor, so in response, he retreated from the war and doomed his comrades to de...
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...tle, his view on philosophy is connected to reconciliation. Through his vices and virtues, Aristotle explains how an act is considered on a sphere of action or feeling. One can either be in the excess, the mean, or the deficiency of that certain feeling (Aristotle). Through reconciliation, Achilles is able to explore the deficiency of revenge. Aristotle would describe this act as a virtue against the vice of revenge.
In the “Iliad” and “Trojan Women”, the concept of revenge is either explored through means of direct confrontation of the want for revenge, and thoughts of extreme violence or death to get that revenge. In Fives and Twenty-fives, it is explored through aggravation and accusations to vent but not necessarily exact the idea of revenge. Revenge, however, cannot exist without its counter weight, reconciliation, as is demonstrated by Achilles in the “Iliad”.
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