CL103/EN203 (fall 2009)

Schedule and study questions for Homer's Iliad

book-by-book summaries of the Iliad

September 10: books 1, 2 (lines 1-483), 3

  1. Since this is the start of the poem, what information is given to get the plot moving? What, to your mind should be here and isn't?
  2. What are the salient character traits of Akhilleus and Agamemnon? How is this information conveyed to us?
  3. What do you think Akhilleus and Agamemnon look like? What makes you think this?
  4. How old do you think Akhilleus is? Agamemnon? What makes you think this?

September 14: books 6, 9

  1. What is/are the role(s) of the gods in the Iliad as exemplified in the passages read thus far?
  2. What are the Trojans like, in contrast to the Greeks, as portrayed in the Iliad?
  3. How does book 9 add to or change our understanding of Agamemnon and Akhilleus as we saw them in book 1?
  4. To judge from what you have read of the Iliad thus far, what would you imagine its intended audience to have been like?
  5. Imagine what it is like to hear this poem recited by a public performer rather than read on a screen or page.

September 17: books 15, 16

  1. Contrast Patroklos and Akhilleus.
  2. The people in the Iliad seem to talk a lot. Why do you think the poem is written in this way? What would be lost if the long speeches were eliminated?
  3. Since the Iliad is a poem about the waging of war, and poetry is supposed to be aesthetic, what is aesthetic about the battle scenes in the Iliad?
  4. Do you think the intended audience of the Iliad regularly fought in combat? What makes you think this?

September 21: books 18, 19

  1. To judge from book 18, what has been the relationship of Patroklos and Akhilleus?
  2. How does the description of Akhilleus' new shield fit into the Iliad as a whole?
  3. To judge from what you have read thus far, is the Iliadabout anything more than war and fighting? If so, what is it about?

September 24: books 22, 24

  1. Contrast Akhilleus and Hektor as they are portrayed in their final combat.
  2. Contrast Akhilleus' treatment of Hektor's body after the battle with his treatment of Priam.
  3. Now that you have completed the Iliad, is the poem about anything more than war and fighting? If so, what is it about?