The Iliad is a poem believed to have been written by Homer around 800 B. It is set against the backdrop of the Trojan War and centers around the human condition. This condition comprises a wide range of emotions leading to decisions that often result in unforeseen consequences. Resounding themes include honor and glory, fate and freedom of choice, and unavoidable death " the ultimate fate of all humans. Interspersed throughout, we find interference by the gods in the actions of humans and espy their own self-interests in the outcome of events. Indeed, Homer paints a picture of the gods as being very "human-like " in temperament and quarrelsome among themselves, even demonstrating favoritism for their preferred mortals " attributes not typically attributed to gods.
The poem portrays the tenth and final year of the war, which started when Paris of Troy fell in love with Helen of Sparta and stole her away from her husband, Menelaus. A standoff ensued that brought the allies of each side to a head when Paris refused to give Helen back. On the side of Paris, his brother, Hektor led the armies of Troy, while Agamemnon, Menelaus' brother, led the armies of the Achaeans. These two men, Agamemnon and Hektor, are great warriors in their own right and share as many similarities as they do differences. This essay will focus on the challenges these men face in order to achieve their goals and the responses to those challenges.
The leading goal of both Agamemnon and Hector would be to win the war and put an end to the decade-long battle. Over the years, many men have died and a good leader would seek to bring an end to the war as soon as possible. This type of effective leadership entails putting one's self-interests aside and doing what is best for the greater good of the community. Agamemnon does not always set his own interests aside in favor of his community. His leadership is at times unsteady, a character flaw and, like many of the other warriors in the poem, may feel a sense of entitlement.