Hello fellow people of grammar! This week my topic will be about the Trojan War. I had to write this essay for my Mythology class (Do I capitalize the "m" in mythology in this sentence?) about something in the course that has impacted me the greatest. I wrote about the shifting of blame within the story The Iliad; however, this is only the first two paragraphs of my essay. Enjoy!
Who’s to Blame?
The Trojan War: a marvelously gruesome and excruciatingly long war, began to unfold long before Paris had kidnapped Helen, the most popular belief for this war. The events leading to the Trojan War started long before even Achilles was born. There was a spectacular wedding between Peleus (the mortal) and Thetis (the sea goddess), but one individual was not invited, Eris the goddess of discord—who would want discord at their wedding? Eris is angry for not being invited and shows up anyway; she holds up an apple and claims that this apple belongs to the fairest, and tosses it down the aisle. The expected happens; Aphrodite, Athena, and Hera get into an argument about who is the fairest to claim the apple. Zeus then appoints a shepherd—Paris—to judge the fairest of the three goddesses and they each offer him a bribe, like any true goddess would. The three goddess all give him a tantalizing offer, Hera offers him power, Athena offers him wealth, and Aphrodite offers him the most beautiful woman in the world—Helen. Paris chooses Aphrodite as the fairest and gets whisked away to claim his “prize”, who just happens to already be married. Paris steals Helen and everyone gets upset and eventually the war breaks out. This story brings an odd perspective to the war, who is really to blame for the Trojan War? Is it Paris? Helen? Aphrodite? Eris? In The Iliad there are three characters who talk about blame, Agamemnon, Hector, and Homer—the author himself.
Agamemnon, the king of the Achaean army, is a complex and interesting character. Although he was previously one of Helen’s suitors, Menelaus won out in the end. The previous suitors of Helen had formed a kind of comitatus (band of warriors) to protect Helen if there be a need. Because his relationship to Helen, you would think he would blame Helen or Paris for the war. “Zeus is a harsh, cruel god. He vowed to me long ago, / he bowed his head that I should never embark for home / till I had brought the walls of Ilium crashing down” (2.131-133). So it’s Zeus’ fault? But Agamemnon throughout The Iliad is seen always blaming the Gods for absolutely everything. When Achilles decides to come back to the war after Patroclus is killed, Agamemnon is still blaming everyone other than himself, “"I am not to blame! / Zeus and Fate and the Fury stalking through the night, / they are the ones who drove that savage madness in my heart, / that day in assembly when I seized Achilles' prize—/ on my own authority, true, but what could I do? / A god impels all things to their fulfillment: / Ruin, eldest daughter of Zeus, she blinds us all" (19.100-106). This is a different tale about the moment when Agamemnon took Achilles’ woman away, which before it was obviously Agamemnon's fault, but now it was entirely Zeus’ and Ruin’s fault. Agamemnon seems to not blame anyone or anything besides the gods for any misfortune that befalls him and the others around him.