Iliad Study Questions:
Books 1-4: (feel free to
skim through the Catalogue of Ships)
- What is the conflict between Achilleus and Agamemnon? Whose side
would you take?
- What is the basis for Agamemnon's authority? What kind of authority
or power does Achilleus have? What comments does the Iliad make
on these forms of power?
- How do Agamemnon and Achilleus represent different models of heroism?
What sort of hero is Odysseus? What sort of hero is Paris? How does
he compare to Achilleus and Agamemnon?
- How would you characterize Odysseus' encounter with Thersites? How
would you compare Thersites' speech to Achilleus' position in his criticism
of Agamemnon? Why does Odysseus react the way he does?
- What can we learn about the status of women from the figures of Chryseis,
Briseis and Helen? How does Achilles describe his feelings for Briseis?
What is their relationship? How does Briseis feel about Achilleus? How
would you characterize the interaction between Aphrodite and Helen in
Book III? How would you characterize Helen's feelings for Paris?
- What is the role of the gods in making or breaking heroes? How, when,
and why do they intervene?