February 10, 2009
The Nature of Political Authority
In heroic stories of the past and present, there are many cases in which the hero is faced with the circumstance of having to follow someone less great than themselves. In wars political figures give their warriors the responsibility of fighting for them. Merit versus acknowledged position is the primary features displayed when there is conflict between Achilles and Agamemnon. These two characters of The Iliad are at war with each other. Achilles needs his respect as a warrior, and Agamemnon needs his respect as king. One would think that because Agamemnon is king that he would have more power and respect than Achilles. Achilles as a warrior has stronger claim than Agamemnon because he (Agamemnon) knows that without Achilles in this war he and his army are doomed. The fact still remains that everyone loves a hero even if he is boastful and egocentric. It seems as though politics will prevail but in the end, people are going to remember a hero. True heroes are immortal and greedy kings are just another person. Therefore, Achille’s basis of merit is stronger than Agamemnon’s political authority.
The struggle between political authority and the greater good are not only demonstrated in epic stories. It has occurred for thousands of years. Political leaders force themselves into a struggle that does not set well with its governed. In the time of war, authority figures have the habit of distancing themselves from the concerns of their people. Whether or not it’s for a good cause or not those who have the authority are going to do what the feel in the end.
Kings need to be respected in order to govern their people. Although Agamemnon abuses his power and takes from Achilles, it still is expected. During ancient times of Greece there was no one to stand up against the king. He had total control over the people, there was no such thing as a democratic government....