Iliad Suggested Essay Topics


Suggested Essay Topics

Book One
1. Compare the actions of Achilleus to those of Agamemnon in this chapter. What do these actions tell you about each of the characters?

2. Examine the role of women in this chapter. How are the women treated? How do they effect the action? Is the role of the goddesses different from that of the mortals?

Book Two
1. Discuss the various ways that the gods accomplish their purposes with men in this book. Are these methods always successful? What does this say about the ultimate power of the gods in this culture?

2. Discuss the warriors’ attitude toward the battle. How does it change throughout this book? Which characters sway their opinions, and what methods are used to convince them?

Book Three
1. Discuss Paris’ role in the Trojan conflict. What kind of man is he? Why is Helen unhappy in his presence?

2. Describe Helen and her role. What does she represent, and why is it worth fighting a ten year war over?

Books Four and Five
1. Discuss what Pandaros had to gain by breaking the truce. What elements of the culture lead him to give in to Athene’s suggestion?

2. Compare and contrast Diomedes and Achilleus as heroes. Use specific instances from the text to support your claims.

Book Six
1. Compare Hektor’s attitude and behavior to that of Paris, especially their desires for the fate of Troy and looming destruction.

2. Discuss the ways in which Hektor serves as a symbol for the value of home and family in the epic and how this contrasts with the approach of Agamemnon.

Book Seven
1. Compare the speeches that Nestor offers to the Achaians. What is similar among them about the language he uses? How are they different? What effect do they have on the warriors? How would you define Nestor’s role?

2. Discuss the different ways the gods intervene in the lliad to shape the actions of mortals. In what form do they appear? Are they recognized? Is there advice always taken?

Book Eight
1. Explore the many images of birds in the Iliad and their significance to the narrative. How much faith do the Trojans and Achaians have in omens?

2. How much control does Zeus have over the immortals? How much control does he have over the actions of mortals? What is the relationship of fate to the gods?

Book Nine
1. Agamemnon and Achilleus have been involved in their quarrel now since the beginning...

(The entire section is 1080 words.)