Citanda: Brett Favre and Achilles

Mentioned this on facebook last week … forgot to post it here. Here’s the incipit:

Even though Homer’s Iliad was written approximately three thousand years ago, the character of Achilles is still alive and well. He is forty one years old, lives in Mississippi, and spends his autumns and winters in Minnesota. Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre is the modern-day embodiment of the legendary warrior Achilles.

The first and most obvious trait that the two legends share is that both men are primadonnas whose narcissistic tendencies can become a major annoyance and nearly impossible to deal with. In the case of Favre, he did not want to attend the Vikings’ training camp, and so he simply refused to join the Vikings in 2009, saying he would remain retired from the New York Jets. Midway through camp, Favre had an unsurprising change of heart and decided to play again, for the Vikings. After this decision was made, reports swirled that part of the reason Favre was so unwilling to join the Vikings because he did not want to share a room with any of his teammates. This selfishness is a direct parallel of the character of Achilles.

In Book I of the Iliad, the Greek warriors take two Trojan women, Chryseis and Briseis, to be their concubines, and it turns out that the Greeks’ leader Agamemnon chose Chryseis to be his, but she is the daughter of a priest named Chrysus, who summons the help of the gods to get his daughter back. A plague hits the Greek camp, and Agamemnon gives Chryseis back, but insists on taking Briseis, the woman who Achilles had claimed as his own. This infuriates Achilles, who then stays in his tent and refuses to participate in the war. [more …]

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