Iliad Study Questions1

  1. Identify the following. What family relationships (e.g., "husband and wife") and political relationships (e.g., "king and subjects" or "allies in war") exist among the characters? Achaia, Hades, Myrmidon, Styx, Troy. Characters: Achilles, Agamemnon, Aias, Alexandros Paris, Andromache, Aphrodite, Phiobos Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athene, Briseis, Cronos, Demeter, Diomedes, Glaucos, Hector, Helen, Hephaestus, Hera, Hermes, Hestia, Ilios, Menelaos, Nestor, Odysseus, Pallas, Patroclos, Peleus, Persephoneia, Poseidon, Priam, Thersites, Thetis, and Zeus.
  2. What characters in question 1 are gods? How are the gods different from humans in The Iliad? How do humans and gods relate? Which gods favor the Trojans? The Greeks?
  3. Look up the word epithet in a good English dictionary. What kinds of epithets are applied to characters in book 1?
  4. What is Achilles' tragic flaw? How does it affect the plot?
  5. Why is there one reaction to Achilles' words to Agamemnon and another to Thesites when he says much the same thing? What is the purpose of the response to Thersites?
  6. Analyze Paris' character based on books 3 & 6.
  7. In book 9, Agamemnon sends a delegation to Achilles. What does he offer Achilles to return to battle? What answer does Achilles give? What are his stated reasons?
  8. Why does Diomedes ask the lineage of Glaucos? Why don't they fight?
  9. Compare and contrast the following: Achilles and Hector, Achilles and Agamemnon, Helen and Andromache, Hector and Paris, Hector and Andromache (regarding the roles of men & women).
  10. What happened to Achilles' armor? How did he get new armor?
  11. In what ways does Achilles go too far following the death of Patroclos? How does he regain his humanity?
  12. How does Achilles achieve inner peace?

1These questions are taken or adapted from Fisher 120-124.