CL106/EN106 Week 2:


Homer, Iliad, books 1, 2 (lines 1-483), 3, 6, 9:


note: read summaries of the remainder of book 2 and books 4, 5, 7 and 8


1. Starting the poem:

a. What information is given to get the story moving? What, to your mind, should be here and isn't?


2. Akhilleus and Agamemnon:

a. What are the salient character traits of Akhilleus and Agamemnon as we see them in book 1? How is this information conveyed to us?

b. What do you think Akhilleus and Agamemnon look like? What in the poem makes you think this?

c. How old do you think Akhilleus is? Agamemnon? What in the poem makes you think this?

d. How does book 9 add to or change our understanding of Agamemnon and Akhilleus as we saw them in book 1?


3. The gods:

a. What are the gods in the Iliad like? What details in the poem show what they are like?

b. What is/are the role(s) of the gods in the Iliad as seen in the books read for today's class?

c. What would be lost if the gods were eliminated from the poem? What would be gained?


4. Trojans and Greeks:

a. What are the Trojans like, in contrast to the Greeks, as portrayed in the Iliad?

b. How does the poem expect its audience to judge the Trojans in contrast to the Greeks? How can you tell?


5. Performing the Iliad:

a. To judge from what you have read of the Iliad for today's class, what would you imagine its intended audience to have been like?

b. Imagine what is like to hear this poem recited by a public performer rather than read on a screen or page.

c. Why is neither this nor this a good representation of Homeric performance? (This is meant to be a serious question.)