Classics 130 - The Trojan War: The Iliad - Books 13-18

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.

What kind of god is Zeus, given that he looks away from Troy at such a crucial moment? What does Poseidon undertake to rally the Greeks? In what various ways do the mortal fighters perceive his divine force?

Why would Diomedes think it worthwhile to preface the presentation of his battle strategy with a boasting account of his noble lineage?

Consider how Homer manages to vary one of the most common speech types in these battle books - the speech of a commander rallying his men. Make special note of Ajax's ironic, darkly jesting tone.

What is the significance of the details the poet provides of Patroklos' arming? Consider Achilles' prayer to Zeus and the revelation of Zeus' response. What is the role of suspense in the Iliad?

What is the effect of Homer's careful description of wounds, blood and gore as soldiers die? What could it mean for men to exceed the limits set by Zeus or go, as Apollo says to Aeneas, "beyond the will of Zeus?"

Does Achilles now, talking to his mother, display full self-awareness? Consider his relationship with his family and friends? How important was Patroklos to him?

Consider Achilles' shield and the scenes depicted on it as well as the way the poet presents their creation. Could a design on a shield possibly show all the action and effects (including sound) Homer describes?