What do intrigues you most about The Iliad? You might focus on primary characters, plot elements, relationships between characters, connections between other works we’ve read, etc.

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There are so many themes in Homer’s Iliad that it is hard to select a single event that outdoes all others. Highlights include Achilles’ retreat to his tent after being spurned by Agamemnon. Achilles’ anger is the ostensible subject of the epic, as given in the first several lines. Aphrodite’s rescuing of Paris after his duel with Menelaus is another highlight. Paris himself volunteered for the duel, but was rescued by Aphrodite and taken to Helen’s bed after his defeat. This episode reveals how shielded Paris is, and what a different character he is from Menelaus, Agamemnon, Hector, etc. for his comparative effeminacy. The most poignant scene for myself (as I suspect, for many) is when Hector is preparing for battle with his wife Andromache, and his son, Astyanax, is frightened by the plumes on his helmet. Hector’s imminent death is made more tragic by his son’s infancy. Finally, the closing scene in which Hector’s body is returned to his father Priam for burial after it has been dragged around the city, is also important, as it suggests that the story of Hector, the ideal warrior, is parallel to the story of the Trojan War.

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