The Summary of Iliad
1. Who sends the plague to the Achaean
camp near the beginning of The Iliad?
• A) Apollo
• B) Zeus
• C) Hera
• D) Moses
• ...
2. Which of the following characters do
not engage in one-on-one combat with
each other in the poem?
• A) Paris and Menela...
3. When is The Iliad thought to have
been composed?
• A) 12th century
• B) 15th century
• C) 8th century
• D) 3rd century
...
4. With what weapon does Ajax
knock Hector unconscious?
• A) a boulder
• B) a spear
• C) a wooden club
• D) his good looks...
5. Which of the following characters
is Helen’s brother-in-law?
• A) Hector
• B) Achilles
• C) Paris
• D) Agamemnon
• Answ...
6. How long has the Trojan War been
going by the time The Iliad begins?
• A) 9 years
• B) 8 months
• C) 1 week
• D) the po...
7. Which god helps to bring about
the death of Patroclus?
• A) Zeus
• B) Hephaestus
• C) Poseidon
• D) Apollo
• Answer: Ap...
8. Which of the following do not
appear on Achilles’ new shield?
• A) dancing children
• B) constellations
• C) verdant pa...
9. Why does Zeus initially agree to
help the Trojans in the war?
• A) Because he thinks Paris deserves Helen
more than Men...
10. What provokes Achilles’ rage
against Agamemnon?
• A) Agamemnon’s demand that Achilles hand
over Briseis
• B) Agamemnon...
11. Who raised Patroclus?
• A) Thetis
• B) Peleus
• C) Priam
• D) Odysseus
• Answer: Peleus
12. What grave tactical error does
Hector make out of overconfidence?
• A) He orders his men to put down their swords
and ...
13. Achilles is the son of
• A) Thetis and Peleus
• B) Aphrodite and Patroclus
• C) Thetis and Zeus
• D) Chryseis and Agam...
14. In Book 1, Achilles is stopped
from killing Agamemnon by
• A) Hector
• B) Zeus
• C) Odysseus
• D) Athena
• Answer: Ath...
15. The Trojan War was caused by
• A) Troy's monopoly of the spice trade
• B) Agamemnon's abduction of Chryseis
• C) the f...
16. Who is Achilles' most beloved
companion?
• A) Hector
• B) Nestor
• C) Patroclus
• D) Diomedes
• Answer: Patroclus
17. Who kills Patroclus?
• A) Paris, with the aid of Apollo
• B) Priam, with the aid of Apollo
• C) Hector, with the aid o...
Key Facts: Iliad
• FULL TITLE • The Iliad
• AUTHOR • Homer
• TYPE OF WORK • Poem
• GENRE • Epic
• LANGUAGE • Ancient Greek...
Key Facts: Iliad
• NARRATOR • The poet, who declares himself to be the
medium through which one or many of the Muses speak...
Key Facts: Iliad
• PROTAGONIST • Achilles
• MAJOR CONFLICT • Agamemnon’s demand for Achilles’ war
prize, the maiden Brisei...
Key Facts: Iliad
• THEMES • The glory of war; military values over family life; the
impermanence of human life and its cre...
What are the chief motivations for war
or conflict in the Iliad?
The pursuit of Glory
• The pursuit of glory is a consuming
occupation for Homeric heroes. A Homeric
hero wins glory by per...
Pride
Pride is a theme of pivotal importance, not only for
the Iliad, but for all of Greek literature. Where
pride in Chri...
The glory of battle and the horror of war
Homer has never been surpassed in his
ability to portray both the beauty and hor...
Themes
• The Glory of War
• One can make a strong argument that The Iliad seems
to celebrate war. Characters emerge as wor...
Themes
• Military Glory over Family Life
• A theme in The Iliad closely related to the glory of war is the
predominance of...
Military Glory over Family Life
• Andromache pleads with Hector not to risk
orphaning his son, but Hector knows that fight...
Themes
• The Impermanence of Human Life and Its
Creations
• Although The Iliad chronicles a very brief period in a
very lo...
MOTIFS
• Armor
• One would naturally expect a martial epic to depict men
in arms, but armor in The Iliad emerges as someth...
MOTIFS
• Burial
• While martial epics naturally touch upon the subject of
burial, The Iliad lingers over it. The Iliad’s i...
MOTIFS
• Fire
• Fire emerges as a recurrent image in The
Iliad, often associated with internal passions such as
fury or ra...
SYMBOLS
• The Achaean Ships
• The Achaean ships symbolize the future of
the Greek race. They constitute the army’s
only me...
SYMBOLS
• The Shield of Achilles
• The Iliad is an extremely compressed narrative. Although it
treats many of the themes o...
If the Iliad is about the wrath of Achilles,
what is the lesson to be learned, if any?
• At first Achilles is angered by
A...
If the Iliad is about the wrath of Achilles,
what is the lesson to be learned, if any?
• Then Agamemnon adds insult to the...
If the Iliad is about the wrath of Achilles,
what is the lesson to be learned, if any?
• In Homeric times a warrior’s repu...
Compare/Contrast Achilles and Hector as
representing heroic ideals.
• The final duel between Achilles and Hector becomes
n...
Compare/Contrast Achilles and Hector as
representing heroic ideals.
• HECTOR, on the other hand, entirely redeems
whatever...
Compare/Contrast Achilles and Hector as
representing heroic ideals.
• Finally, his last stab at glory by charging Achilles...
Compare/Contrast Achilles and Hector as
representing heroic ideals.
• No evidence exists that Hector hoped to tire Achille...
Compare/Contrast Achilles and Hector as
representing heroic ideals.
• Moreover, pride is an aspect of honor, and Hector is...
Compare/Contrast Achilles and Hector as
representing heroic ideals.
• In an important sense, Hector might be said to repre...
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  1. 1. The Summary of Iliad
  2. 2. 1. Who sends the plague to the Achaean camp near the beginning of The Iliad? • A) Apollo • B) Zeus • C) Hera • D) Moses • Answer: Apollo
  3. 3. 2. Which of the following characters do not engage in one-on-one combat with each other in the poem? • A) Paris and Menelaus • B) Hector and Patroclus • C) Hector and Ajax • D) Priam and Agamemnon • Answer: Priam and Agamemnon
  4. 4. 3. When is The Iliad thought to have been composed? • A) 12th century • B) 15th century • C) 8th century • D) 3rd century • Answer: 8th century
  5. 5. 4. With what weapon does Ajax knock Hector unconscious? • A) a boulder • B) a spear • C) a wooden club • D) his good looks • Answer: a boulder
  6. 6. 5. Which of the following characters is Helen’s brother-in-law? • A) Hector • B) Achilles • C) Paris • D) Agamemnon • Answer: Agamemnon
  7. 7. 6. How long has the Trojan War been going by the time The Iliad begins? • A) 9 years • B) 8 months • C) 1 week • D) the poem begins with the beginning of the war • Answer: 9 years
  8. 8. 7. Which god helps to bring about the death of Patroclus? • A) Zeus • B) Hephaestus • C) Poseidon • D) Apollo • Answer: Apollo
  9. 9. 8. Which of the following do not appear on Achilles’ new shield? • A) dancing children • B) constellations • C) verdant pastures • D) valiant warriors • Answer: valiant warriors
  10. 10. 9. Why does Zeus initially agree to help the Trojans in the war? • A) Because he thinks Paris deserves Helen more than Menelaus does. • B) He does so as a favor to Thetis, who asks him on behalf of Achilles. • C) He does so to spite his nagging wife, Hera. • D) Because he despises Odysseus for lusting after Hera. • Answer: B
  11. 11. 10. What provokes Achilles’ rage against Agamemnon? • A) Agamemnon’s demand that Achilles hand over Briseis • B) Agamemnon’s insults of Achilles’ lineage • C) Agamemnon’s defeat of Achilles in a footrace • D) Agamemnon’s repeated sending of Achilles to the front lines, where the danger of being killed is greatest • Answer: A
  12. 12. 11. Who raised Patroclus? • A) Thetis • B) Peleus • C) Priam • D) Odysseus • Answer: Peleus
  13. 13. 12. What grave tactical error does Hector make out of overconfidence? • A) He orders his men to put down their swords and fight with daggers. • B) He orders his men to camp outside Troy’s walls. • C) He gives permission for half of his men to go on vacation. • D) He decides that his troops do not need to eat before fighting. • Answer: B
  14. 14. 13. Achilles is the son of • A) Thetis and Peleus • B) Aphrodite and Patroclus • C) Thetis and Zeus • D) Chryseis and Agamemnon • Answer: A
  15. 15. 14. In Book 1, Achilles is stopped from killing Agamemnon by • A) Hector • B) Zeus • C) Odysseus • D) Athena • Answer: Athena
  16. 16. 15. The Trojan War was caused by • A) Troy's monopoly of the spice trade • B) Agamemnon's abduction of Chryseis • C) the fight over who would possess the jewel-studded Trojan horse • D) Paris' abduction of Helen • Answer: Paris’ abduction of Helen
  17. 17. 16. Who is Achilles' most beloved companion? • A) Hector • B) Nestor • C) Patroclus • D) Diomedes • Answer: Patroclus
  18. 18. 17. Who kills Patroclus? • A) Paris, with the aid of Apollo • B) Priam, with the aid of Apollo • C) Hector, with the aid of Apollo • D) Briseis, with the aid of Apollo • Answer: Paris, with the aid of Apollo
  19. 19. Key Facts: Iliad • FULL TITLE • The Iliad • AUTHOR • Homer • TYPE OF WORK • Poem • GENRE • Epic • LANGUAGE • Ancient Greek • TIME AND PLACE WRITTEN • Unknown, but probably mainland Greece, around750 B.C.
  20. 20. Key Facts: Iliad • NARRATOR • The poet, who declares himself to be the medium through which one or many of the Muses speak • POINT OF VIEW • The narrator speaks in the third person. An omniscient narrator (he has access to every character’s mind), he frequently gives insight into the thoughts and feelings of even minor characters, gods and mortals alike. • TONE • Awe-inspired, ironic, lamenting, pitying • SETTING (TIME) • Bronze Age (around the twelfth or thirteenth century B.C.); The Iliad begins nine years after the start of the Trojan War • SETTING (PLACE) • Troy (a city in what is now northwestern Turkey) and its immediate environs
  21. 21. Key Facts: Iliad • PROTAGONIST • Achilles • MAJOR CONFLICT • Agamemnon’s demand for Achilles’ war prize, the maiden Briseis, wounds Achilles’ pride; Achilles’ consequent refusal to fight causes the Achaeans to suffer greatly in their battle against the Trojans. • RISING ACTION • Hector’s assault on the Achaean ships; the return of Patroclus to combat; the death of Patroclus • CLIMAX • Achilles’ return to combat turns the tide against the Trojans once and for all and ensures the fated fall of Troy to which the poet has alluded throughout the poem. • FALLING ACTION • The retreat of the Trojan army; Achilles’ revenge on Hector; the Achaeans’ desecration of Hector’s corpse
  22. 22. Key Facts: Iliad • THEMES • The glory of war; military values over family life; the impermanence of human life and its creations • MOTIFS • Armor; burial; fire • SYMBOLS • The Achaean ships; the shield of Achilles • FORESHADOWING • Foreshadowing is prominent in The Iliad, as the poet constantly refers to events that have yet to occur and to fated outcomes. Patroclus’s return to battle foreshadows Achilles’ return to battle, for example, and Hector’s taunting of the dead Patroclus foreshadows the desecration of his own corpse by Achilles. Also, Achilles and Hector themselves make references to their own fates—about which they have been informed; technically, only Hector’s references foreshadow any event in the poem itself, however, as Achilles dies after the close of the epic.
  23. 23. What are the chief motivations for war or conflict in the Iliad?
  24. 24. The pursuit of Glory • The pursuit of glory is a consuming occupation for Homeric heroes. A Homeric hero wins glory by performing great deeds, the memory of which will outlive him. There is no comforting afterlife in Homer. Shades go down to the gloomy world of Hades. Emphasis is on the deeds of this life for the sake of this life, and a hero must win glory that will be remembered always by the living even after he is gone.
  25. 25. Pride Pride is a theme of pivotal importance, not only for the Iliad, but for all of Greek literature. Where pride in Christianity is a vice paired off against the central Christian virtue of humility, pride to the ancient Greeks was the source of both ruin and greatness. The central hero of Christianity, Jesus Christ, is the embodiment of humility. Divine, he suffers humiliation that not even mortals should bear. In contrast, it is hard to imagine a male heroic Greek hero who is humble; for the Greeks, pride is inextricable from heroic action.
  26. 26. The glory of battle and the horror of war Homer has never been surpassed in his ability to portray both the beauty and horror of war. War brings out the best in his heroes, as they tap previously unknown reserves of strength, courage, and loyalty. But war also can bring out the worst in men. The endless carnage and cruelty of the poem dehumanizes many of the men of the Iliad, and Homer never shirks from depicting the brutality of battle. Although Homer glorifies warriors, the Iliad is full of an unmistakable love for peace.
  27. 27. Themes • The Glory of War • One can make a strong argument that The Iliad seems to celebrate war. Characters emerge as worthy or despicable based on their degree of competence and bravery in battle. To fight is to prove one’s honor and integrity, while to avoid warfare is to demonstrate laziness, ignoble fear, or misaligned priorities. • Paris doesn’t like to fight and correspondingly receives the scorn of both his family and his lover. • Achilles wins eternal glory by explicitly rejecting the option of a long, comfortable, uneventful life at home.
  28. 28. Themes • Military Glory over Family Life • A theme in The Iliad closely related to the glory of war is the predominance of military glory over family. The text clearly admires the reciprocal bonds of deference and obligation that bind Homeric families together, but it respects much more highly the pursuit of kleos, the “glory” or “renown” that one wins in the eyes of others by performing great deeds. Homer constantly forces his characters to choose between their loved ones and the quest for kleos, and the most heroic characters invariably choose the latter. The gravity of the decisions that Hector and Achilles make is emphasized by the fact that each knows his fate ahead of time. The characters prize so highly the martial values of honor, noble bravery, and glory that they willingly sacrifice the chance to live a long life with those they love.
  29. 29. Military Glory over Family Life • Andromache pleads with Hector not to risk orphaning his son, but Hector knows that fighting among the front ranks represents the only means of “winning my father great glory.” • Paris, on the other hand, chooses to spend time with Helen rather than fight in the war; accordingly, both the text and the other characters treat him with derision. • Achilles debates returning home to live in ease, but he remains at Troy to win glory by killing Hector and avenging Patroclus.
  30. 30. Themes • The Impermanence of Human Life and Its Creations • Although The Iliad chronicles a very brief period in a very long war, it remains acutely conscious of the specific ends awaiting each of the people involved. Troy is destined to fall. The text announces that Priam and all of his children will die—Hector dies even before the close of the poem. Achilles will meet an early end as well. Homer constantly alludes to this event, especially toward the end of the epic, making clear that even the greatest of men cannot escape death. Indeed, he suggests that the very greatest—the noblest and bravest—may yield to death sooner than others.
  31. 31. MOTIFS • Armor • One would naturally expect a martial epic to depict men in arms, but armor in The Iliad emerges as something more than merely a protective cover for a soldier’s body. In fact, Homer often portrays a hero’s armor as having an aura of its own, separate from its wearer. • When Patroclus wears Achilles’ armor to scare the Trojans and drive them from the ships, the fight breaks out over Patroclus’s fallen body, the armor goes one way and the corpse another. • Achilles’ knowledge of vulnerabilities of Hector’s armor makes it easier for him to run Hector through with his sword.
  32. 32. MOTIFS • Burial • While martial epics naturally touch upon the subject of burial, The Iliad lingers over it. The Iliad’s interest in burial partly reflects the interests of ancient Greek culture as a whole, which stressed proper burial as a requirement for the soul’s peaceful rest. However, it also reflects the grim outlook of The Iliad, its interest in the relentlessness of fate and the impermanence of human life. • The burial of Hector is given particular attention, as it marks the melting of Achilles’ crucial rage. The mighty Trojan receives a spectacular funeral that comes only after an equally spectacular fight over his corpse. • Patroclus’s burial also receives much attention in the text, as Homer devotes an entire book to the funeral and games in the warrior’s honor.
  33. 33. MOTIFS • Fire • Fire emerges as a recurrent image in The Iliad, often associated with internal passions such as fury or rage, but also with their external manifestations. Homer describes Achilles as “blazing” in Book 1 and compares the sparkle of his freshly donned armor to the sun. But fire doesn’t appear just allegorically or metaphorically; it appears materially as well. The Trojans constantly threaten the Achaean ships with fire and indeed succeed in torching one of them. Thus, whether present literally or metaphorically, the frequency with which fire appears in The Iliad indicates the poem’s over-arching concern with instances of profound power and destruction.
  34. 34. SYMBOLS • The Achaean Ships • The Achaean ships symbolize the future of the Greek race. They constitute the army’s only means of conveying itself home, whether in triumph or defeat. Even if the Achaean army were to lose the war, the ships could bring back survivors; the ships’ destruction, however, would mean the annihilation—or automatic exile—of every last soldier.
  35. 35. SYMBOLS • The Shield of Achilles • The Iliad is an extremely compressed narrative. Although it treats many of the themes of human experience, it does so within the scope of a few days out of a ten-year war. The shield constitutes only a tiny part in this martial saga, a single piece of armor on a single man in one of the armies—yet it provides perspective on the entire war. Depicting normal life in peacetime, it symbolizes the world beyond the battlefield, and implies that war constitutes only one aspect of existence. Life as a whole, the shield reminds us, includes feasts and dances and marketplaces and crops being harvested. Human beings may serve not only as warriors but also as artisans and laborers in the fields. Not only do they work, they also play, as the shield depicts with its dancing children. Interestingly, although Homer glorifies war and the life of the warrior throughout most of his epic, his depiction of everyday life as it appears on the shield comes across as equally noble, perhaps preferable.
  36. 36. If the Iliad is about the wrath of Achilles, what is the lesson to be learned, if any? • At first Achilles is angered by Agamemnon’s lack of gratitude, appreciation, and generosity. Agamemnon is not grateful for joining the Greek forces. Nor does Agamemnon appreciate Achilles’ value as the mightiest of warriors. Above all, the “covetous” king has taken the largest part of the booty for himself and left to Achilles, who has borne the brunt of the battle, “some pitiful little prize.”
  37. 37. If the Iliad is about the wrath of Achilles, what is the lesson to be learned, if any? • Then Agamemnon adds insult to the outrage of Achilles. The King asserts his greater power by taking Achille’s chief prize, Briseis, away from him. This represents a direct slap at Achilles’ pride, his sense of personal honor, and was the cause of Achille’s wrath.”
  38. 38. If the Iliad is about the wrath of Achilles, what is the lesson to be learned, if any? • In Homeric times a warrior’s reputation for courage and strength constituted of his honor and was thought to assure his immortality. Hence, the recognition of his worth and the respect due to his strength and courage were particularly important to Achilles. Underlying his grievances was Achilles’ feeling that his honor was diminished by Agamemnon’s lack of respect. Without the power to compel Agamemnon to give him his due, Achilles ran the risk of losing his chance for immortality, his opportunity to overcome death.
  39. 39. Compare/Contrast Achilles and Hector as representing heroic ideals. • The final duel between Achilles and Hector becomes not only a duel of heroes but also of heroic values. • While ACHILLES proves superior to Hector in terms of strength and endurance, he emerges as inferior in terms of integrity. • His mistreatment of Hector’s body is a disgrace, compounded by the cruelty in which he allows the rank and file of his army to indulge. As we have seen, Achilles engages in such indignities quite routinely and does so not out of any real principle but out of uncontrollable rage.
  40. 40. Compare/Contrast Achilles and Hector as representing heroic ideals. • HECTOR, on the other hand, entirely redeems whatever flaws he displays in the preceding books. His refusal to return to the safety of Troy’s walls after witnessing the deaths brought about by his foolish orders to camp outside the city demonstrates his mature willingness to suffer the consequences of his actions. • His rejection of a desperate attempt at negotiation in favor of the honorable course of battle reveals his ingrained sense of personal dignity. • His attempt to secure from Achilles a mutual guarantee that the winner treats the loser’s corpse with respect highlights his decency.
  41. 41. Compare/Contrast Achilles and Hector as representing heroic ideals. • Finally, his last stab at glory by charging Achilles even after he learns that the gods have abandoned him and that his death is imminent makes his heroism and courage obvious. While Hector dies in this scene, the values that he represents—nobility, self-restraint, and respect—arguably survive him. • Indeed, Achilles later comes around to an appreciation of these very values after realizing the faults of his earlier brutality and self- centered rage.
  42. 42. Compare/Contrast Achilles and Hector as representing heroic ideals. • No evidence exists that Hector hoped to tire Achilles by fleeing from him. Never does Hector, however, appear more human than he debates the prospect of a duel with mighty Achilles and considers compromise or appeasement, finally discarding both as useless. Perhaps to contrast Achilles’ arrogance, his hubris, Homer has the mightiest Trojan warrior, Hector, express another attitude toward pride. It is worth recalling that when Hector begins his self-debate he laments his excess pride by remembering Polydama’s advice and by quoting an imagined comment of his fellow countrymen: “ ’Great Hector put all/ Of his trust in his own brute strength and destroyed the whole (Trojan) army.’” In a sense, Hector’s battle with Achilles is in expiation of the sin of pride.
  43. 43. Compare/Contrast Achilles and Hector as representing heroic ideals. • Moreover, pride is an aspect of honor, and Hector is Homer’s major contrasting figure to Achilles. In Achilles’ valuation of honor above all other achievements the value of human life is diminished. Honor, glory, fame are paramount. Hector has already given ample evidence that he values human life above all else. Through the display of doubt, fear, and hesitation, on the one hand, and on the other of loving tenderness, civic responsibility, and the ability to conquer fear, he is shown as a complete human being in contrast to Achilles with his singleness of purpose and ferocity of intent. Hector, the great human being, in the end fights fear courageously and meets death alone.
  44. 44. Compare/Contrast Achilles and Hector as representing heroic ideals. • In an important sense, Hector might be said to represent the civilizing impulse in man. Far more complex than Achilles, Hector is civilized man, with his fears, hopes, and internal conflicts, forced to face the relatively simple world where brute strength alone counts for everything.
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