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Last Updated on May 3, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 430

Topic #1

The gods are discussed in the Iliad nearly as much as the mortals, and their actions are vital to the plot. Analyze the role of the gods throughout the work using specific examples to support your conclusions.


I. Thesis Statement: The gods in the Iliad serve as the instruments of fate, stepping into the mortal arena when necessary to insure that fate’s purposes are served.

II. The nature of fate as seen in the Iliad
A. Zeus’s scales of fate
B. Actions with inevitable consequences
C. Danger of overstepping fate

III. The gods’ interaction with men
A. Gods sent as messengers to mortals to influence decisions
B. Revelations of fate to mortals by gods
C. Whisking of warriors away from danger

IV. Limitations put on the gods by fate
A. The desires of the gods that are sometimes in conflict with fate
B. Gods deceiving and defying Zeus, and the consequences

Topic #2

Achilles, Agamemnon, and Hector each represent different values. Compare and contrast the motivations of each warrior, discussing how their point of reference determines their actions.


I. Thesis Statement: While every character in the Iliad is bound by the heroic code, the motivations behind their actions are very different. Achilles, Agamemnon, and Hector each represent different value systems and worldviews.

II. The heroic code as seen in the Iliad
A. The bond of friendship
B. The customs of hospitality
C. The concept of loyalty and courage in battle

III. The motivations of Agamemnon
A. Position as leader of the Achaian forces and fierce, unfeeling warrior
B. Loyalty to his brother Menelaus
C. Power struggles and skirmish with Achilles
D. Offers of reconciliation and when they are made

IV. The motivations of Achilles
A. Position as greatest of the Achaian warriors
B. Loyalty to Patroclus
C. Pride and stubbornness

V. The motivations of Hector
A. Position as leader of the Trojan forces
B. Responsibility and attempting to instill it in Paris
C. Influences of home and family

Topic #3

There are many women characters included in the narrative of the Iliad, some mortal and some immortal. Explore the role of these female characters and their purpose in the scope of the work.


I. Thesis Statement: In the culture of the Iliad, mortal women are treated as property rather than human beings. While the gods attempt to treat the goddesses the same way, the goddesses are quick to assert themselves and claim equal power.

II. Mortal women as war prizes
A. Briseis
B. Chryseis
C. Fear of the Trojans

III. Mortal women as gifts
A. Agamemnon’s gifts to Chryses
B. Agamemnon’s gifts to Achilles

IV. Zeus’s treatment of the goddesses
A. Hera
B. Aphrodite
V. The goddesses’ assertion of power
A. Hera
B. Athena

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Critical Evaluation