Agamemmnon And The Odyssey

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Orel Fligelman Professor Coon First Essay 10/4/11 1) The Story of Agamemnon and the Odyssey The story of Agamemnon’s murder and his son’s subsequent revenge is repeated time and again throughout the Odyssey. This repetition serves several functions. It serves as a contrast between the tragedy of Agamemnon and the triumph of Odysseus. The audience of Homer was fond of such happy endings, and so the frequent mention of this sad story serves to enhance the happy ending of Odysseus’ triumph. Moreover, the contrast of Odysseus’s story with Agamemnon’s gives the reader insight into the character traits of each, exposing their strengths as well as flaws. Aside from appreciating them as human beings, the audience is also able to understand why the fate of Agamemnon was death, whereas the fate of Odysseus was triumph. The story also helps illustrate many Homeric symbols and themes, including glory and fate. The parallelism of the stories’ plot lines and characters are the literary tools Homer utilizes to convey these ideas. Glory, or kleos, is a recurring theme in Homeric epics. We see many instances of the heros value for glory, and the story focuses largely on the obstacles our hero must overcome to attain it. The parallels and contrasts of the stories serve to highlight the main points Homer had in mind in his understanding of what kleos in fact is. In both cases, our heroes are all unaware of whether or not their kin is alive. Agamemnon does not know where Orestes is and vice versa, and analogously, Odysseus does not know where Telemachus is, and vice versa. Both have to overcome the inevitable anxiety that sets in when one is uncertain of the mortality of their flesh and blood, particularly after so many years of seperation. This ability is part of the heroic code. The hero is supposed to be the man who is able to lead his men out of despair,
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