The Odyssey Agamemnon Quotes Page 1
(Agamemnon, in Odysseus’s tale:) ‘[…] most pitiful was the voice I heard of Priam’s daughter Kassandra, killed by treacherous Klytaimestra over me; but I lifted my hands and with them beat on the ground as I died upon the sword, but the sluttish woman turned away from me and was so hard that her hands would not press shut my eyes and mouth though I was going to Hades’. So there is nothing more deadly or more vile than a woman who stores her mind with acts that are of such sort, as this one did when she thought of this act of dishonor, and plotted the murder of her lawful husband. See, I had been thinking that I would be welcome to my children and thralls of my household when I came home, but she with thoughts surpassingly grisly splashed the shame on herself and the rest of her sex, on women still to come, even on the one whose acts are virtuous.’ (11.421-434)
Where Penelope is a steadfast symbol of loyalty, Klytaimestra is quite the opposite. She betrays her lord by taking a lover in his absence and shows her treachery by killing her husband when he returns. She so hates him that she refuses to honor the rights of the dead – closing his eyes or shutting his lips so that he may be granted passage to the Underworld. So embittered is Agamemnon by her betrayal that he condemns all women on the grounds that they have the same sort of treachery in them.
(Agamemnon:) ‘So, even now you have died, you have not lost your name, but always in the sight of all mankind your fame shall be great, Achilleus.’ (24.92-94)
Agamemnon reminds Achilleus that honor is forever, unlike the passing glory of life. Because of his actions, Achilleus has earned immortality for his name. Still, Achilleus’s earlier comments suggest that he doesn’t agree with this: he would rather be unremarkable and alive.