The Iliad Pride Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Line). We used Richmond Lattimore's translation.
Be men now, dear friends, and take up the heart of courage,
and have consideration for each other in the strong encounters,
since more come through alive when men consider each other,
and there is no glory when they give way, nor warcraft either. (5.529-532)
This quotation follows the previous one nicely, illustrating a similar point. Even though the Iliad shows us – time and again, and in great detail – the negative side of pride, it also shows us some of the positives. One advantage of pride is that it can make people perform good actions out of fear of losing respect. In this case, Agamemnon thinks that if his men keep pride in mind, they will get through the battle more safely. Can you think of any other instances – in the Iliad, elsewhere in literature, or in real life – where pride has this positive effect?
Son of Telamon, seed of Zeus, Aias, lord of the people:
all that you have said seems spoken after my own mind.
Yet still the heart in me swells up in anger, when I remember
the disgrace that he wrought upon me before the Argives,
the son of Atreus, as if I were some dishonoured vagabond. (9.644-648)
This parting remark by Achilleus to the emissaries makes it pretty clear what made him most mad about Agamemnon's actions in Book 1. Agamemnon has just offered to give Achilleus Briseis back, and to swear an oath that he never slept with her. On top of that, he's throwing in a lot of awesome stuff, which you can read about in our summary of Book 9. But Achilleus refuses it all, because he isn't interested in material things: he cares about his honor.
Son of Atreus, most lordly and king of men, Agamemnon,
I wish you had not supplicated the blameless son of Peleus
with innumerable gifts offered. He is a proud man without this,
and now you have driven him far deeper into his pride. Rather
we shall pay him no more attention, whether he comes in with us
or stays away. He will fight again, whenever the time comes
that the heart in his body urges him to, and the god drives him. (9.697-703)
What do you think about Diomedes's remark here – that the only solution to Achilleus is to ignore him? Do you have the same impression we do – that Diomedes understands Achilleus in a way that the other chieftains don't? Diomedes is constantly being compared with his father, Tydeus. Do you think this might give him a special insight into the nature of pride?