The structure and themes of Homer's epic poem the Iliad have become the exemplar for many of the subsequent epic poems in the Western literary canon. For your assignment, consider the following "epic elements" and how they appear in the poem:
1. An epic usually begins in media res, a Latin phrase meaning "in the midst of things." The Iliad opens in the final days of a decade-long war, in the encampment of the Achaeans, who are suffering from a mysterious plague. Homer provides no formal prologue explaining how and why the Achaeans have come to this place, nor when the plague started, nor introductions of any characters. He instead goes directly to the scene which catalyzes the action of the poem, the argument between Achilles and Agamemnon:
Begin, Muse, when the two first broke and clashed,
Agamemnon lord of men and brilliant Achilles.
This is because epics weave together many elements of myth and folklore into a larger narrative. The context that is missing from Homer's opening scene would already...
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