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ENGL220 Iliad Books I-IV
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ENGL220 Iliad Books I-IV



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  • 1. Homer’s Iliad
  • 2. Homer’s poem covers a few weeks late in the 9th year of the war
  • 3. Book I The argument between Agamemnon and Achilles
  • 4. Homer states his theme to be “the wrath of Achilles,” and begins his story in media res
  • 5. Apollo had caused a plague to strike the Greek forces
  • 6. Alarmed for the safety of the troops, Achilles asked Agamemnon to consult the seer Calchas Calchas is afraid to tell Agamemnon the reason for the plague until Achilles personally guarantees his safety.
  • 7. Calchas reveals that the problem is due to Agamemnon’s captured girl
  • 8. Agamemnon’s words to Calchas
  • 9. Chryseis, a girl awarded to Agamemnon as a prize taken when Achilles sacked her homeland, is the daughter of Chryse, a priest of Apollo
  • 10. Chryse had offered to ransom his daughter. When Agamemnon refused, Chryse asked Apollo for justice.
  • 11. Thus, the plague.
  • 12. Agamemnon agrees to give up Chryseis, who is his concubine, but demands some other "prize" to replace her. Achilles answers that another prize will come later, when Troy is sacked. Agamemnon angrily threatens to take the captive woman of Achilles or of another of the Achaian chiefs, and Achilles responds to this slight by denouncing Agamemnon and threatening to go home to Phthia.
  • 13. Odysseus returns Chryseis to her father
  • 14. Agamemnon repeats his threat to take Achilles' prize, and Achilles is about to draw his sword when Athene appears to him and stops him.
  • 15. Instead of attacking Agamemnon, Achilles berates him some more, and swears an oath to stay out of the battle so that the Achaians can see how important he is. Nestor tries to reconcile the two chiefs, but without much success. Achilles agrees to surrender his captive woman, Briseis, without a fight. When the messengers from Agamemnon arrive, Achilles hands her over.
  • 16. Briseis leaves Achilles’ tent
  • 17. Achilles grieving for Briseis
  • 18. Briseis
  • 19. Briseis brought to Agamemnon
  • 20. He then meets with his mother, Thetis the sea- nymph, and tells her the whole story of how he has been dishonored. He asks her to convince Zeus to make the Trojans win for a while, so the Greeks will realize how much they need Achilles.
  • 21. Thetis supplicates Zeus, who agrees with her request
  • 22. Achilles sulks in his tent
  • 23. Hera, who favors the Greeks, expresses her displeasure over this plan, but Zeus asserts his authority and she is silenced. Hephaestus comforts his mother Hera, and soon all the gods are again at peace, and the day ends.
  • 24. Book II Zeus sends Agamemnon a deceitful dream indicating that this is a good time for the Achaians to attack. Next morning, Agamemnon summons the chiefs to an assembly and tells them about the dream. Nestor approves, and the chiefs call an assembly of the whole army. Agamemnon takes the scepter and addresses the multitude, telling them that the time has come to give up the struggle (now in its ninth year) and go home. The Achaians are delighted by this and rush for the ships, but Hera sends Athene to intervene. On Athene's orders, Odysseus goes around stopping the flight. To noble men he recalls their duty as leaders, and to common soldiers he asserts the authority of the kings, backed by a blow from the staff.
  • 25. The Greeks decide to stay. They assemble for battle.
  • 26. Agamemnon
  • 27. The Greeks decide to stay. They assemble for battle.
  • 28. Zeus sends Iris to Priam to get the Trojans stirred up
  • 29. Iris
  • 30. Book II ends with a catalog of Greek and Trojan troops
  • 31. Book III
  • 32. As the battle begins, Paris sees Menelaus and shrinks back into the ranks in fear, earning a bitter reproach from Hektor. Chastised, Paris proposes a single combat between himself and Menelaus. Hektor is pleased and conveys this proposal to the Greeks, whereupon Menelaus quickly accepts the challenge Helen’s guys
  • 33. When Paris sees Menelaus, he hides
  • 34. Hector scolds him, and Paris then offers to fight Menelaus one-on-one
  • 35. A truce is prepared, with both armies swearing a great oath
  • 36. Inside Troy, Iris summons Helen to the battlements
  • 37. Helen describes Greek leaders to Priam
  • 38. Paris fights Menelaus
  • 39. When Paris is grazed by Menelaus’ javelin, Aphrodite rescues him
  • 40. She takes Paris back to his bedroom
  • 41. She brings the unwilling Helen to him
  • 42. Book IV Zeus would like the war to end right here, but Hera argues and sends Athene down to break the truce
  • 43. Athene caused the Trojan Pandarus to break the truce. She convinced him to shoot an arrow at Menelaus.
  • 44. PANDARUS, in Greek legend, son of Lycaon, a Lycian, one of the heroes of the Trojan war. He is not an important figure in Homer. He breaks the truce between the Trojans and the Greeks by treacherously wounding Menelaus with an arrow, and finally he is slain by Diomedes (Homer, Iliad, ii. 827, iv. 88, V. 290). In medieval romance he became a prominent figure in the tale of Troilus and Cressida. He encouraged the amour between the Trojan prince and his niece Cressida; and the word " pander " has passed into modern language as the common title of a lovers' go-between in the worst sense.
  • 45. Battle resumes after Agamemnon gives pep talks to various groups of Greek warriors
  • 46. Odysseus and Agamemnon plan strategy