Classics 130 - The Trojan War: The Iliad - Books 1 - 6

Reading and Discussion Questions:

Please consider the follow questions while you read the Iliad. These are topics that we will very likely discuss together in class, so use these to collect thoughts and take notes if it helps.

Why does Achilles want to kill Agamemnon? Why doesn't he? In this altercation - who wins? Who loses? How does each save face?

What does Thersites, as well as the attitude of other characters and the poet to Thersites, reveal about heroic ideals? Are these realistic?

How does the Catalogue of Ships fit in (or not) at this point in the story? What pleasure could audiences derive from its telling?

Ditto - the "view from the walls" scene with Helen and the Trojan elders?

Consider the will of the gods versus human effort/action - how does this play out in Books 3 and 4, and Paris vs. his brother then in action vs. Menelaus?

Book 4 is rich with Homeric similes - what type are used and how effective are they? How do you feel when the Trojans prepare for battle like a flock of sheep? Is Agamemnon a good general?

Who among the gods supports the Greeks, who the Trojans?
What are the pros and cons of gods on the battlefield? How and why do the gods take special care of Aeneas? How does Athena attack Ares? Why is this scene remarkable? How did the Greeks feel about this "divine intervention"? Is it fate? How do you feel?

How does Diomedes' exploits organize a battle scene? Superhuman? Demi-god? Is Zeus an hypocrite?

In Book 6 (one of the best) what do we learn about Homeric heroes and their priorities from:
* Glaukos and Diomedes
* Hector and his family

How does Helen address Hector? What opinion does she claim to have of Paris? What future does Hector imagine for Andromache?

At this point - Who are you rooting for??!!