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Essay on magnanimity



Strength, honor, and unconditional bravery are held dear to the Achaians and Trojans alike. Among those people, qualities that reveal leadership and might are highly regarded as indicative of a magnanimous human being. Yet, Agamemnon, Achilleus, and Hektor all perceive magnanimity in different ways, and each attempts to exude it as he understands it. Public recognition is a key element for one to be honored in Greek and Trojan societies, however, the three men differ in how dependent they are upon that recognition for complete satisfaction or happiness.

Agamemnon is the definitive king who all too readily reminds his subalterns of their status. For Agamemnon, to be great-souled is to have utter control and command. His need for recognition from, and the fear of, other men is blatantly evident when he attempts to humble Achilleus, saying,.

your prize, I myself going to your shelter, that you may learn well .

how much greater I am than you, and another man may shrink back .

from likening himself to me and contending against me.' (64).

For him nobility and worthiness can be measured materially. To be a prodigious leader in the eyes of his people, the Achaians, Agamemnon must attain material affluence that includes women as war prizes. Material want that develops into material greed springs from dissatisfaction with what one already possesses. Agamemnon simply desires more so that he may be seen as more powerful. It is in human nature to want to succeed or to feel accomplished. However, for Agamemnon that wish is granted only when he is publicly recognized and rewarded. He feels his place in the world is that of a plenipotentiary king, simply overseeing only the execution of his orders. In that sense, Agamemnon's perception of magnanimity is distinctive because he feels he is owed respect simply by his being in the position of power. For instance, when speaking to his army, he says,.

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