The Iliad

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Humanity and Leadership in the Iliad
Many values found in The Iliad correlate with our society today. In the ancient epic poem by the bard Homer, Agamemnon, the leader of the Achaeans, and Hector, the hero of the Trojans, stand out as two radically different types of leadership. Hector is considered the tragic hero of the poem; he is both the devoted family man and the patriotic champion of Troy. Agamemnon is the cruel, harsh commander-in-chief of Achaeans, driven by self-gratification and greed. However, as drastically different as the two leaders are, they also share certain similarities. Both are fundamentally human and have their own unique flaws and admirable characteristics that coalesce to influence their individual styles of leadership.
Hector motivates his army with promises of glory and loot, while Agamemnon uses ridicule and humiliation to motivate his army. When Hector needs a spy to learn if the exhausted Achaeans are still guarding their ships, he begins with promises of glory and material objects. He offers “a chariot, two horses with strong necks, the best of the breeds beside Achaea’s fast ships”, with the alluring promise of “what glory (the spy) can win” (286). Instead of selecting a spy through intimidation or goading, Hector appeals to his warriors’ desire for glory and luxury. Glory, or kleos, is one of the most sought after ideals in both the Achaean and Trojan armies, and Hector knows this. By appealing to these desires, Hector motivates his warriors, hoping to spur them on to greater valor and successes. Agamemnon, on the other hand, uses shame and humiliation to rally his army. When battle breaks out after the duel between Menelaus and Paris, Agamemnon uses shame and mockery as motivational tools. “You Argives – glorious braggarts! Disgraces – have you no shame? Just standing there, dumbstruck like fawns… winded and…...

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