War is a complex social phenomenon. In order to organize the war, society needs to have several important characteristics. On the one hand, it is aggression and hostility toward specific enemy. On the other, it is the ability to acquire weapon, train soldiers and protect the territory. At the same time, leaders are responsible for creating the strategy. The stories of famous leaders Agamemnon and Algren show that war is a brutal process and its cost can be very high.
There are many diverse reasons for starting the war. Throughout the centuries, people have been battling for territories, resources, some religious or moral beliefs. At the same, it is essential to remember that the cost of war is always high. Wars can cause death of civilians, soldiers as well as destruction of the state. That is why leaders play significant role in the process of war. In addition, sometimes there are some distant connections between the characters of different leaders. Sometimes similarities in character can also influence the outcome of the war. It is crucial to analyze and compare such heroes as Agamemnon and Nathan Algren and illustrate their emotions, struggles and sacrifices.
Trojan War became one of the most is famous historical events. This war is focused on some important figures and one of them is Agamemnon. Another important event, depicted in the movie “Last Samurai”, is a Japanese civil war. The movie offers a good example of a strong and highly respected leader - Nathan Algren, who also goes through serious life changing events.
Moreover, both characters had tremendous responsibility for the life of many people. For example, Agamemnon was a leader of Greek army, which participated in Trojan War. Agamemnon was a leading figure, who not only commanded expedition against Troy, but decided for this war (Pepys, 1983). As well as Agamemnon, Algren also was a commander-in-chief. He is hired by his former commander (Tony Goldwyn) who wants Algren to travel to Tokyo and train Japanese soldiers in the use of American tactics and rifles (Mitchell, 2003). Therefore, he was responsible for training Japanese people and teaches them how to develop their warrior skills. In fact, different leaders are motivated by different things before they start the war. Historians point out aggression, vanity, pride, desire for self-aggrandizement or hope of political reward (Ettinge, 1991).
It is important to mention that both heroes, Algren and Agamemnon had different motives. Agamemnon was eager to win the Trojan War. Nevertheless, Algren was not exited about participating in Japanese civil war. Many people perceived Algren as professional soldier and hero. Despite such glory, Algren always thought that he was a murderer and did not like his profession. Therefore, Agamemnon and Algren had completely different attitude to war.
Although, these heroes share some similar traits, they are still very different. Agamemnon is portrayed as conqueror and addressed as ptoliporhos “sacker of a city” (Pepys, 1983). Algren also had a powerful personality and was one of the most wealthy and powerful man. Despite the fact that he was a brave warrior, he was very selfish in his desires. Nevertheless, in Illiad Agamemnon also displayed many traits of a bad king, he is imprudent and has a short temper and greed behavior (Thompson, 2004). Agamemnon is quite selfish and proud. In fact, he is too haughty for his own good, and often gets in trouble in the Illiad because of his greed, hot temper and pride (Thompson, 2004).
Nathan Algren also had a strong and powerful personality. However, he was a broken and tortured man and that is why he was crass, rude and insensitive (Kowalski, 2006). His life was not easy, because he was always haunted by his combat experiences through nightmares. Algren was constantly battling his own demons and in order to escape from this, he drinks alcohol.
In addition, these two characters seemed to share a quality, which allows them to make harsh decisions. Both Agamemnon and Algren are strong and bold leaders. These qualities allowed them to make serious sacrifices. For instance, Agamemnon was left with two options: saving his daughter or giving up the war. However, Agamemnon was ready to suffer for the sake of war. That is why he sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia for the Artemis to calm the winds and let the Greeks sail to Troy (Thompson, 2004).
This decision showed that he was dedicated to his army. At the same time it is a very controversial situation, because it could also show that Agamemnon was manipulated by his soldiers and, which is not an indicator of strong leadership. In addition, this sacrifice also revealed his selfish character. He was also extremely proud of his destruction of Troy and was more concerned about his military glory rather than his family. That is why he provided his wife Clytemnestra with motive for killing him (Pepys, 1983).
Nathan Algren is also ready to make some sacrifices. He is significantly changing his life after being captured by Katsumoto, the samurai rebellion. Algren grows close to the samurai leader Katsumiti and undergoes a kind of spiritual purification: he stops drinking, gives up his army uniform for the robes and sandals and learns the ways of meditation (Corrigan, 2012). Therefore, this war had a significant influence on Algren and completely changed his attitude to life.
At the beginning of the trip Algren was as Agamemnon, because he wanted to earn money. Nevertheless, while in Japan Algren completely changes his life. Captured by Katsumoto he learns that the real hero is not the one who wins the war, but the one, who is brave enough to fight, knowing that his chance of winning are very low. Now he has a completely different perception of war and unlike Agamemnon he is ready to lose the war and even die for the sake of his army. Later on Algren offers to the end his own life, if the emperor wishes it; he does so, not for selfish reasons, but for a purpose greater than he – the good of Japan (Kowalski, 2006).
The cost of war is always high. During the war many innocent people are dying and suffering from the loss of their close relatives. In addition, wars usually lead to complete destruction of countries. Nevertheless, in the ancient tragedies war was one of the most important symbols of “justice”. That is why people were ready to scarify many things in order to win the war as well as Agamemnon, who sacrificed his daughter to pursue the Trojan War. Nevertheless, for Japanese people war is a significant cultural ritual, rather than a way to acquire new territories.
Overall, war is one of the most brutal social phenomenons. There are many diverse reasons to why people decide to start the war. Sometimes it is a simple aggression towards enemy. Nevertheless, leaders are responsible for creating the strategy. Agamemnon as well as Algren played a significant role during the battles. In fact, they had similar ranking positions. While Agamemnon was a commander in chief of the Greek army, Algren was a military leader, who trained Japanese soldiers.
Although, different leaders are motivated by different things before they start the war, the war is also able to change them. Both Agamemnon and Algren were self-centered, because Agamemnon wanted to win the war, while Algren to earn money. Nevertheless, in Japan Algren completely changes his attitude to life. In fact, these both characters are at the same time correlated, but at the end of the wars they acquire different attitudes to life. While Agamemnon is ready to kill his daughter for the sake of winning the battle, Algren is ready to die himself for the sake of the country.