European Classical Literature Unit 1 Classical Greek Epic

European Classical Literature Unit 1 Classical Greek Epic Notes, College and University Answer Bank for BA,,, and Post Graduate Notes and Guide Available here, European Classical Literature Unit 1 Classical Greek Epic Solutions to each Unit are provided in the list of UG-CBCS Central University & State University Syllabus so that you can easily browse through different College and University Guide and Notes here. European Classical Literature Unit 1 Classical Greek Epic Question Answer can be of great value to excel in the examination.

European Classical Literature Unit 1 Classical Greek Epic

Join Telegram channel

European Classical Literature Unit 1 Classical Greek Epic Notes cover all the exercise questions in UGC Syllabus. The European Classical Literature Unit 1 Classical Greek Epic provided here ensures a smooth and easy understanding of all the concepts. Understand the concepts behind every Unit and score well in the board exams.

Classical Greek Epic


At a Glance 

In The Iliad, both gods and men struggle to bring an end to the ten year Trojan War. The great Greek warrior Achilles kills Hector in battle, crippling the Trojan forces. 

The Iliad summary key points: 

(a) In the midst of the Trojan War, Greek leader Agamemnon refuses to return captive Chryseis, causing Apollo to send a plague to the Greek encampment. This alienates the powerful Greek warrior Achilles. 

(b) Zeus listens to the insulted Achilles’ prayer and supports the Trojans. The tide turns in the Trojans’ favor. Agamemnon tries and fails to bribe Achilles to fight for the Greeks again. 

(c) Trojan prince Paris, who sparked the war by stealing Menelaus’ wife Helen, offers to battle Menelaus to end the conflict; he is defeated, but rescued by Aphrodite. The temporary truce is overthrown by Hera’s schemes and fighting resumes. 

(d) The Trojans attempt to light the Greek ships on fire, but the gods intervene on behalf of the Greeks. Achilles’ friend Patroclus disguises himself as Achilles and joins the fray; despite initial success, he is ultimately killed by Trojan prince Hector. 

(e) Achilles re-enters the battle to avenge his fallen friend. He kills Hector and attempts to maim the body, but fails when the gods preserve it. Achilles buries Patroclus and returns Hector’s body to Troy, where it is buried. 


Chryses, a priest of Apollo, journeys to the Achaian camp to request the return of his daughter Chryseis. Chryseis had been captured in a Greek siege and given to Agamemnon as a war prize. Chryses has brought many gifts as ransom for his daughter, but Agamemnon refuses to accept them and sends Chryses away. Apollo then revenges the ill treatment shown to his priest by sending a plague to the Greeks. The plague claims many lives, and a counsel is held to determine how to stop it. Through the advice of a seer, the Greeks agree that the return of Chryses is the only way to stop the plague from taking even more lives. Agamemnon, however, does not give up his prize willingly, and insists that he must have another man’s prize in exchange. He demands Briseis, the woman given to Achilleus in the same siege. Achilleus is so angry with Agamemnon for taking Briseis that he immediately withdraws himself and his troops from the fighting with Troy. He also asks his mother, the goddess Thetis, to plead with Zeus to help him avenge the wrong. Zeus agrees to assist the Trojans in their attack on the Achaians, thus showing Agamemnon that Achilleus is a great man, who would be necessary to succeed in battle. 

Agamemnon gathers the rest of his army for a massive attack against the Trojans. The first day of battle opens with a duel between Paris and Menelaos, and a truce among the rest of the armies. After the duel. which ends with Paris being taken out of the battle by Aphrodite. The truce is broken by Pandaros, the Trojan, and the two armies engage in bitter fighting. At the end of the day, there is another duel, this time between Aias and Hector, which is broken up before its end. The two sides retreat, and the Achaians build a wall around their encampment to protect their position and their ships. When fighting resumes, Zeus pushes the Trojans to great triumph over the Achaians, and their victory seems certain. At this point, Agamemnon calls his leaders together and admits he was at fault in taking Briseis from Achilleus. He agrees to return her, along with a great deal of treasure and a sworn oath that he has not slept with her, if Achilleus will come back and fight with the Achaians. The message is brought to Achilleus by his good friends Odysseus, Aias, and Phoenix. Achilleus greets his friends warmly, but refuses to make peace with Agamemnon. 

The next day the fighting resumes, and the Achaians fight well. However, over the span of the day, most of the best men are injured and taken out of the fight. These include Agamemnon, Diomedes, Odysseus, Eurypylos, and Machaon. The only remaining champion of the Achaians is Aias. Hector then leads a strong drive by the Trojans, and they manage to break through the Achaian wall and fight all the way to the ships. As the Trojans attempt to set fire to the Achaian ships, the gods intervene and rescue the Achaians from almost certain destruction. At this point, Achilleus and his companion Patroklos become fearful for the fate of the Achaian army. While Achilleus still refuses to fight, he sends Patroklos out to the field in his own armour with a contingent of men to save the ships. 

Because Patroklos and his army are rested and fresh, they easily drive the weary Trojans back to the city wall. Patroklos fights bravely and performs many courageous acts, but he pushes his luck and is eventually killed by Hector. Hector takes the famous armour of Achilleus from Patroklos, and a fierce battle is fought over his body. The Achaians manage to retrieve the body of Patroklos, but the battle has turned to the Trojan’s favour, and the Achaians retreat. 

When Achilleus hears the news of his companion’s death, he is mad with rage against Hector, but cannot rush into the battle without his armour. However, the gods transfigure him and when he shows himself on the battlefield the Trojans pull back and the Achaians escape. His mother Thetis acquires immortal armour from the god Hephaistos, and Achilleus announces to the assembled Achaians the end of his quarrel with Agamemnon. The next day the Achaians, mostly through the exploits of Achilleus, are able to drive the Trojans back inside their city walls. Hector, however, refuses to go inside, promising to encounter Achilleus directly instead. His courage fails at the last minute and Achilleus pursues Hector twice around the city walls. Hector’s flight is finally halted through the trickery of Athene, and the two men duel. Hector is killed and his body is dragged by the ankles behind Achilleus’ chariot back to the Achaian camp. 

Achilleus then holds funeral games for Patroklos. giving many great prizes to the victors. Patroklos’ body is mourned and burned in a great pyre. In his grief over his friend, Achilleus has been dishonouring the body of Hector, but the gods have kept it from mutilation. Priam is secretly guided by the gods to Achilleus to request his son’s body in exchange for a great ransom. Achilleus has pity on him, and returns the body. The Trojans then bury Hector. 

Critical Evaluation 

Homer is hailed as the father of all poetry, and the Iliad survives as a masterpiece for all time. The Iliad. taking place within a three-day period of the Trojan War, tells the story of the wrath of Achilles against King Agamemnon. The battle episodes reveal the characters of the warriors, their strengths and their weaknesses. These figures step out of unrecorded history as human beings not of one era but of all eras and for all time. The earliest extant work of European literature, the Iliad is also one of the most enduring creations of Western culture. Of the author, or possibly authors, nothing is known for certain. Tradition says that Homer was a Greek of Asia Minor. Herodotus surmised that Homer lived in the eighth century b.c.e., which seems reasonable in the light of modern scholarship and archaeology. The poet drew on a large body of legend about the siege of Troy, material with which his audience was familiar and that was part of an oral tradition. Homer himself may not have transcribed the two epics attributed to him, but it is probable that he gave the poems their present shape. 

The Iliad was originally intended to be recited or chanted rather than read. Its poetic style is vivid, taut, simple, direct, full of repeated epithets and elaborate visual similes. The treatment is serious and dignified throughout, and the total effect is one of grandeur. The poem has a classical structure, with a beginning, middle, and end. 

Homer’s greatness also reveals itself in the action of the Iliad, in which, within the scope of a few weeks in the tenth year of the siege of Troy, Homer gives the impression of covering the whole war by a few deft incidents. The appearance of Helen on the walls of Troy reminds the reader that she is the cause of the war. The catalogue of ships and warriors calls to mind the first arrival of the Greek army at Troy. The duel between Paris and Menelaus would properly have come in the first years of the war, but its placement in the poem suggests the breakdown of diplomacy that leads to the bloodbath of fighting. Hector’s forebodings of his own death and of the fall of Troy as he talks to his wife, not to mention his dying prediction of the supposedly invincible Achilles’ death, all point to the future of the war and its conclusion. Homer thus gives the rather narrow scope of the poem’s events much greater breadth. 

The Iliad is not a mere chronicle of events in the Trojan War. It deals with a specific and crucial sequence of the war: the quarrel of Achilles with his commander, Agamemnon; Achilles’ withdrawal from the war. the fighting in his absence; Agamemnon’s futile attempt to conciliate Achilles; the Trojan victories; Patroclus’s intervention and death at Hector’s hands; Achilles’ re-entry to the war to avenge his friend’s murder; the death of Hector; and Priam’s ransom of Hector’s body from Achilles. 

This sequence is important in its effect on the war as a whole for two reasons. Without Achilles, the ablest fighter, the Greeks are demoralised, even though they have many powerful warriors. It is foretold that Achilles will die before Troy is taken, so the Greeks will have to capture Troy by means other than force. The second reason is that the climax of the poem, the killing of Hector, prefigures the fall of Troy, for as long as Hector remains alive the Greeks are unable to make much headway against the Trojans. 

Achilles is the precursor of the tragic hero according to Aristotle’s definition. Young, handsome, noble, courageous, eloquent, generous, and of unsurpassed prowess, his tragic flaw lies in the savage intensity of his emotions. He knows he will die young. In fact, he has chosen to die at Troy and thereby win a lasting reputation rather than to grow old peacefully. It is precisely his pride, his supreme skill in warfare, and his lust for future glory that make him so ferocious when he is crossed. He has a hard time restraining himself from killing Agamemnon and a harder time bearing Agamemnon’s insult. He puts pride before loyalty when his Greek comrades are being overrun. Only when the war touches him personally, after his friend Patroclus enters the combat and is slain, does he come to terms with Agamemnon. Then his rage against the Trojans and Hector consumes him, and he is merciless in his vengeance, slaughtering Trojans by scores, gloating over Hector’s corpse and abusing it, and sacrificing twelve Trojan nobles on Patroclus’s funeral pyre. His humanity is restored in the end when, at Zeus’s command, he allows old King Priam to ransom Hector’s body. Trembling with emotion, he feels pity for the old man and reaches out his hand to him. It is the most moving moment in the epic. 

Achilles lives by a rigid code of personal honour and fights to win a lasting reputation, so he has nothing to lose by dying. Life is worthless to him except insofar as it allows him to prove his own value. Yet, paradoxically, this very ethic makes his life more intense and tragic than it might have been. Hector, by contrast, is fighting on the defensive for a city he knows is doomed, and his responsibilities as a leader tend to burden him. He has others to think about, even though he foresees their fate and  all of this hinders his becoming a truly effective warrior such as Achilles. Whereas Achilles’ life seems tragic, Hector’s life is one of pathos, but the pathos of a man fighting heroically against overwhelming odds. 

The gods play a prominent part in the Iliad, and they are thoroughly humanised, having human shapes, sexes. and passions. Although they have superhuman powers. they behave in an all-too-human fashion—feasting, battling, fornicating, lying, cheating, changing their minds, protecting their favourites from harm. Just as the Greek army is a loose confederation under Agamemnon. 

so the gods are subject to Zeus. As the gods behave like humans, so the link between god and human is surprisingly direct; superhuman and human forces interact constantly. Divinity penetrates human action through oracles. dreams, visions, inspiration; it shows itself in inspired warfare, in which a hero seems invincible, and in miraculous interventions, in which a wounded hero is spirited away and healed. Moreover, the gods are not omnipotent. Zeus can merely delay the death of a person but in the end must bow to Fate. Further, men have free will; they are not mere puppets. Achilles has deliberately chosen his destiny. Humans, finally, have more dignity than the gods because they choose their actions in the face of death, while the gods have no such necessity, being immortal. It is death that gives human decisions their meaning, for death is final and irrevocable. The Iliad is a powerful statement of what it means to be human in the middle of vast and senseless bloodshed. 

Characters Discussed Achilles 

Achilles (uh-KIH-leez), the son of Peleus and the Nereid Thetis, prince of the Myrmidons, and mightiest of the Achaian warriors at the siege of Troy. At his birth, his mother had dipped him in the Styx, so that all parts of his body are invulnerable to hurt except the heel by which she held him. A young man of great beauty, strength, courage, and skill in battle, he nevertheless possesses two tragic flaws, an imperious will and a strong sense of vanity. Enraged because King Agamemnon orders him to surrender the maid Briseis, whom Achilles had taken as his own prize of war, he quarrels bitterly with the commander of the Greek forces and withdraws from the battlefield. When the Trojan host attacks. driving the Greeks back toward their ships, Achilles remains sulking in his tent. So great is his wrath that he refuses to heed all entreaties that come to the aid of the hard-pressed Greeks. When the Trojans begin to burn the Greek ships, he allows his friend Patroclus, dressed in the armour of Achilles, to lead the warlike Myrmidons against the attackers. 

Patroclus is killed by Hector, the Trojan leader, under the walls of the city. Seeing in the death of his friend the enormity of his own inaction, Achilles puts on a new suit of armour made for him by Hephaestus and engages the Trojans in fierce combat. Merciless in his anger and grief, he kills Hector and on successive days drags the body of the vanquished hero behind his chariot while King Priam. Hector’s father looks on from the walls of the city. When the sorrowing king visits the tent of Achilles at night and begs for the body of his son, Achilles relents and permits Priam to conduct funeral rites for Hector for a period of nine days. In a later battle before the walls of Troy, an arrow shot by Paris, King Priam’s son. strikes Achilles in the heel and causes his death. 


Hector (HEHK-tur), the son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba. As the commander of the Trojan forces. he is the greatest and most human of the heroes. an ideal figure in every respect: a skilled horseman, a brave soldier, an able leader, a man devoted to his family and his city, and the master of his emotions under every circumstance. His courage in battle, his courtesy in conference, his submission to the gods, and his sad fate at the hands of vengeful Achilles provide an admirable contrast to the actions of the blustering, cunning. cruel. and rapacious Greeks. 


Andromache (an-DROM-uh-kee), the devoted wife of Hector and the mother of Astyanax. After the fall of Troy, she was taken into captivity by Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles. Still later, according to The Aeneid, she married Helenus, the brother of Hector, and ruled with him in Pyrrhus. 


Astyanax (as-TI-eh-naks), the young son of Hector and Andromache. During the sack of Troy, Neoptolemus killed the child by hurling him over the city wall. 


Agamemnon (ag-eh-MEHM-non), the king of Mycenae and the older brother of King Menelaus, husband of the lovely Helen, whose infidelity brought about the Trojan War. Courageous and cunning but often rash and arrogant, as in his treatment of Achilles, he is the commander of the Greeks in the war. He stands as a symbol of the capable leader, without the heroic qualities of the more dramatic warriors who fight under his command. He is killed by his wife Clytemnestra after his return from Troy. 


Menelaus (meh-nuh-LAY-uhs), the king of Sparta and husband of beautiful but faithless Helen, who is seduced and abducted by Paris, the prince of Troy, in fulfilment of a promise made by Aphrodite. He stands more as a symbol than as a man, a victim of the gods and an outraged husband who avenges with brave deeds the wrong done to his honour. At the end of the war, he takes Helen back to Sparta with him. In the Odyssey, she is shown presiding over his royal palace. 


Helen, the wife of King Menelaus of Sparta and, for nineteen years after her abduction, the consort of Paris. Being confined within the walls of Troy, in the company of doting elders, she plays a minor part in the story. Because she is the victim of Aphrodite’s promise to Paris, she does not suffer greatly for her actions. Her attempts at reconciliation unwittingly aid the Greek cause in the capture of Troy. 


Paris, the son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba. Called to judge a dispute among Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena, he awarded the prize, the golden apple of discord, to Aphrodite, who in turn promised him the most beautiful woman in the world as his wife. Although his love for Helen, the bride he stole from her husband, has become a proud devotion to a principle, Paris nevertheless places himself in jeopardy as a champion of the Trojan cause and offers to meet King Menelaus, the injured husband, in single combat. Aphrodite, fearful for the safety of her favourite, watches over him and saves him from harm. An arrow from his bow strikes Achilles in the heel and kills the Achaian warrior. One story says that Paris was slain by a poisoned arrow from the bow of Philoctetes. 


Priam (PRI-am), the king of Troy and the beneficent father of a large family. Although he is not a ruler of Agamemnon’s stature, he is a man of shrewdness and quiet strength who suffers much at the hands of fate and the rivalry of the gods. Although he does not condone the abduction of Helen by Paris, he is fair in his judg-ment of both because he knows that they are victims of Aphrodite’s whims. His devotion to his son Hector and his pity for all who suffer in the war elevate him to noble stature. 


Hecuba (HEH-kew-buh), the wife of King Priam. Her fate is tragic. She witnesses the death of her sons, the enslavement of her daughter Cassandra, carried into captivity by Agamemnon, and the sacrifice of her daughter Polyxena to appease the shade of Achilles. 


Calchas (KAL-kuhs), the seer and prophet of the Greeks. After many animals and men have been slain by the arrows of Apollo, Calchas declares that the destruction is a divine visitation because of Agamemnon’s rape of Chryseis, the daughter of Chryses, a priest of Apollo. He counsels that the maid be returned to her father without ransom. 


Chryseis (KRIH-see-uhs), a maiden seized by the Greeks during the plundering of Chrysa and given to Agamemnon as a prize of war. Forced by the intervention of Apollo to send the girl back to Chryses, her father, Agamemnon announces that he will in turn take any other maid he desires. His choice is Briseis, the slave of Achilles. Agamemnon’s demand leads to a quarrel between the two Greeks. 


Briseis (BRI-see-uhs), a captive slave taken Achilles as a prize of war. Agamemnon’s announcement that he intends to take the girl into his own tent lead3 to a quarrel between the two men. Forced to surrender Briseis, Achilles and his followers retire from the battlefield and refuse to engage in the fierce fighting that follows. Agamemnon returns the girl to Achilles shortly before the sulking warrior undergoes a change of mood and returns to the fighting to avenge the death of his friend Patroclus. 


Patroclus (pa-TROH-kluhs), the noble squire and loyal friend of Achilles. His death at the hands of Hector is mercilessly and horribly avenged when Achilles and Hector meet in hand-to-hand combat and the Greek warrior kills his Trojan rival. Reasonable in argument and courageous in the face of great odds, Patroclus distinguishes himself in battle and is sublime in his willingness to die for a cause and a friend. 


Odysseus (oh-DIHS-ews), the crafty, middle-aged warrior who, with Diomedes, scouts the Trojan camp, captures a Trojan spy, Dolon, and kills Rhesus, a Thracian ally of the Trojans. Although he is a minor figure in the story, he serves as a foil to haughty Agamemnon and sulking Achilles. He and Nestor are the counsellors who interpret the wiII of the gods. 


Diomedes (di-oh-MEE-deez), a valiant Argive warrior who dashes so often and fearlessly between the Greek and Trojan lines that it is difficult to tell on which side he is fighting. He is the companion of Odysseus on a night scouting expedition in the Trojan camp, and he is the slayer of Pandarus. In hand-to-hand fighting, he attacks Aeneas so fiercely that the gods wrap the Trojan in a veil of mist to protect him from Diomedes’ onslaught. 


Dolon (DOH-luhn), a Trojan spy captured and put to death by Odysseus and Diomedes. 


Nestor (NEHS-tur), the hoary-headed king of Pylos and a wise counsellor of the Greeks. Although he is the oldest of the Greek leaders, he survives the ten years of star and returns to hirown land, where Telemachus, the son of Odysseus, visits him. 


Machaon (meh-KAY-uhn), the son of Asclepius, the famous physician of the ancient world. He is the chief surgeon in the Greek forces. He heals Menelaus after the king of Sparta has been wounded by an arrow from the bow of Pandarus. 


Ajax (AY-jalcs), the son of Telamon of Salamis and half brother of Teucer. A warrior of great physical size and strength, he uses his mighty spear to hold off the Trojans attempting to burn the Greek ships after breaching the rampart around the vessels. According to a later story, he goes mad when Agamemnon, acting on the advice of Athena, awards the armour of dead Achilles to Odysseus. 


Teucer (TEW-sehr), the half brother of Ajax and a mighty bowman. He helps Ajax defend the Greek ships. During one of the Trojan onslaughts, he kills the charioteer of Hector. 


Glaucus (GLOH-kuhs), a Lycian ally of the Trojans. Meeting him in battle, Diomedes recognizes the Lycian as a guest-friend by inheritance. To seal a covenant between them, they exchange armour, Glaucus giving up his gold armour, worth a hundred oxen, for the brass armour of Diomedes, worthy only nine oxen. 


Sarpedon (sahr-PEE-duhn), the leader of the Lycian allies fighting with the Trojans. He is killed by Patroclus. 


Aeneas (ee-NEE-uhs), the son of Anchises and Aphrodite. A warrior descended from a younger branch of the royal house of Troy, he commands the Trojan forces after the death of Hector. Earlier, while trying to protect the fallen body of his friend Pandarus, Aeneas is struck down by Diomedes, who would have slain him if the gods had not hidden the Trojan in a misty cloud. Aeneas’ wounds are miraculously healed in the temple of Apollo, and he returns to the battle. 


Pandarus (PAN-duh-ruhs), a Lycian ally of the Trojans and a skilled archer. After Paris has been spirited away from his contest with Menelaus, Pandarus aims at the king of Sparta and would have pierced him with an arrow if Athena had not turned the shaft aside. Diomedes kills Pandarus. 


Cassandra (ka-SAN-druh), the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba. Gifted with second sight, she is never to have her prophecies believed because she has rejected the advances of Apollo. She becomes Agamemnon’s captive after the fall of Troy. 


Helenus (HEH-leh-nuhs), the son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba. Like his sister Cassandra, he possesses the gift of second sight. He eventually marries Andromache, the wife of his brother Hector. 


Deiphobus (dee-IH-feh-buhs), the son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba. He becomes the husband of Helen after the death of Paris and is killed during the sack of Troy


Antenor (an-TEE-nor), the Trojan elder who advises that Helen be returned to the Greeks to avoid bloodshed. 


Polydamas (po-lih-DA-muhs), a shrewd, clear-headed leader of the Trojans. 


Aphrodite (a-froh-DI-tee), the goddess of love. Because Paris had awarded her the fated golden apple and Aeneas is her son, she aids the Trojans during the war. 


Apollo (uh-PO-loh), the god of poetry, music, and prophecy, as well as the protector of flocks and the patron of bowmen. He fights on the side of the Trojans. 


Athena (uh-THEE-nuh), also called Pallas Athena, the goddess of wisdom. She aids the Achaians. 


Poseidon (poh-SI-dehn), the god of the sea and earthquakes. The enemy of the Trojans, he aids the Achaians. 


Ares (AY-reez), the god of war. Because of Aphrodite, he fights on the side of the Trojans. 


Hera (HIHR-uh), the consort of Zeus and the enemy of the Trojans. 


Zeus (zews), the supreme deity. He remained neutral, for the most part, during the war. 


Thetis (THEE-tihs), a Nereid, the mother of Achilles, whom she aids in his quarrel with Agamemnon. 


Hephaestus (hee-FEHS-tuhs), the artificer of the gods. At the request of Thetis, he makes the suit of armour that Achilles is wearing when he slays Hector. 

Question And Answer

1. How does The Iliad fit the Hero Cycle? 

Ans: Joseph Campbell was a student of mythology and folklore who condensed his understanding of such stories into a monomyth that he termed “the Hero’s Journey.” The steps of this journey are summarised by Dan Bronzite as: 1) the ordinary world; 2) the call to adventure; 3) the refusal; 4) meeting the mentor; 5) crossing the threshold; 6) tests, allies, enemies; 7) approach to the inmost cave; 8) ordeal; 9) reward; 10) the road back; 11) resurrection; and 12) return with the elixir. Some aspects of this journey can be seen in the actions of Achilles, who is seen by some as the hero of Homer’s Iliad. 

The war against Troy is the great adventure to which Achilles is summoned from his father’s court. His mother, knowing that he will die in the war, attempts to save him by concealing him in the women’s quarters of a friendly king. Odysseus tricks Achilles into revealing himself. This action is not described in the poem itself but would have been known to Homer’s audience from other portions of the epic cycle concerning the war. Here we have the steps of the ordinary world, summons, refusal, and crossing the threshold. 

However, the action of the Iliad is not typical of the Hero’s Journey. Achilles does not prevail. in his adventure and return to normal life with a precious artefact. He is fated to die in Troy. His goal is the eternal fame promised in return. The conflict in the tale is between his pride, offended by Agamemnon’s seizing his war prize, and his loyalty to the Greek cause. He withdraws from the battle and lets the Greeks come near to defeat. 

It is only the death of his friend Patroclus at the hands of the Trojan prince, Hector, that lures him back into battle. His goal is to avenge Patroclus by inflicting as much damage as possible on the Trojans and killing Hector. In his fury he dares to fight even minor gods. When he finally kills Hector, he defies the norms of human behaviour by abusing the corpse. He trespasses even further by sacrificing human captives at Patroclus’s funeral. The battle could be interpreted as Campbell’s stage of ordeal, but it does not lead to a reward or a return home. The poem ends with a description of the funeral of Hector. 

Nor can the audience for which Homer composed be comforted by the fates of the other Greeks. The great Ajax will go mad, Agamemnon will be killed by his wife, and Odysseus will lose his entire crew and spend ten years returning home. Only Menelaus and Old Nestor will return to their homelands relatively unscathed, and they are not the heroes of the epic. 

Thus, the Iliad can be seen as a tale that only in part can be fitted to the framework of the Hero’s Journey. 

2. In the Iliad, what happens because of Achilles’ anger? What are the three consequences? 

Ans: The first consequence of Achilles’ anger is that withdraws from the fighting and remains lounging in his tent. Shakespeare has comic scenes involving Achilles amusing himself in his tent along with Patroclus and the scurrilous clown Thersites in the play Troilus and Cressida. 

The second consequence is that without Achilles the Trojans are the superior fighting force. This is largely due to the leadership and example of their great hero Hector. Without Achilles, the Trojans begin overpowering the Greeks and driving them back towards their ships. Many Greeks appeal to Achilles to rejoin the fighting, but he is adamant. He wants them to appreciate how much they need him. 

The third consequence is that Achilles’ friend Patroclus borrowed Achilles’ armour in the hope of frightening the Trojans, who have advanced so far that they are fighting among the Greek ships and trying to set fire to them. But Hector slays Patroclus, thinking he is slaying Achilles. The death of his friend so enrages Achilles that he gives up his sulking in his tent and goes out to fight. He chases the entire Trojan army back behind the walls of Troy, with the exception of Hector, who decides to fight Achilles single-handedly. This is the climax of Homer’s Iliad. Achilles kills Hector and drags his body around the city behind his chariot. Without Hector it seems obvious that the Trojans are now destined to lose the long war. There is a great feeling of gloom and foreboding among the Trojans at the end of the Iliad. 

3. What epic elements do you find in Homer’s Iliad? 

Ans: 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: 

(i). 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 catalyses 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 have been known to his audience, in the same way that, for instance, the legends of King Arthur or stories from the Bible are known to modern Western audiences. 

(ii) The natural and the supernatural together make up the setting of an epic, so that the action in the story takes place not just on earth, but also in the heavens and the underworld. In the Iliad, the events on the battlefield are often affected by the events on Mount Olympus, and gods, demi-gods, nymphs, and nature spirits all help and hinder the human characters in various ways throughout the poem. 

(iii) The main characters of an epic are larger than life, sometimes of divine or otherwise supernatural percentage, and often possessed of superhuman abilities. The Iliad’s main character, Achilles, is the son of a mortal king and a sea-goddess. He is the pre-eminent warrior of all the Achaeans, referred to as “brilliant,” “godlike,” and “swift-footed.” His Trojan counterpart, Hector, is fully human, but also described as “godlike” and “mighty,” the crown prince of Troy and his city’s valiant defender. Both Achilles and Hector are characters of legendary status whose virtues and faults have tremendous impact on the course of narrative. The events of the Iliad will finally bring them face-to-face at the climax of the poem, and the clash of these two heroes determines the fates of their respective armies. 

(iv) The structure of an epic poem is a key aspect of what makes it an epic. Epics often contain epithets, descriptive phrases attached to specific people, places, or things. These were used as mnemonics by poets in the oral traditions from which the Iliad arose, and the Iliad is full of them. Examples include “grey-eyed Athena,” “rosy-fingered Dawn,” “Tiryns of the mighty walls,” “Zeus of the lightning bolt,” and “Hector, breaker of horses.” Epics also tend to contain long similes describing people, places, or things; the most famous simile in the Iliad is that of Achilles’s shield, which takes up the whole of Book 18. Digressions into personal histories,. genealogies, and related myths are also part of the fabric of an epic, enriching the main narrative with a large amount of background information. 

If you review the text with these elements in mind, you will find many more examples than the few I’ve given here. 

4. In the Iliad, what happens because of Achilles’ anger? What are the three consequences? 

Ans: The first consequence of Achilles’ anger is that withdraws from the fighting and remains lounging in his tent. Shakespeare has comic scenes involving Achilles amusing himself in his tent along with Patroclus and the scurrilous clown Thersites in the play Troilus and Cressida. 

The second consequence is that without Achilles the Trojans are the superior fighting force. This is largely due to the leadership and example of their great hero Hector. Without Achilles, the Trojans begin overpowering the Greeks and driving them back towards their ships. Many Greeks appeal to Achilles to rejoin the fighting, but he is adamant. He wants them to appreciate how much they need him. 

The third consequence is that Achilles’ friend Patroclus borrowed Achilles’ armour in the hope of frightening the Trojans, who have advanced so far that they are fighting among the Greek ships and trying to set fire to them. But Hector slays Patroclus, thinking he is slaying Achilles. The death of his friend so enrages Achilles that he gives up his sulking in his tent and goes out to fight. He chases the entire Trojan army back behind the walls of Troy, with the exception of Hector, who decides to fight Achilles single-handedly. This is the climax of Homer’s Iliad. Achilles kills Hector and drags his body around the city behind his chariot. Without Hector it seems obvious that the Trojans are now destined to lose the long war. There is a great feeling of gloom and foreboding among the Trojans at the end of the Iliad. 

5. What are the personalities of Achilles and Agamemnon in the Iliad? 

Ans: I think that the study of both Achilles and Agamemnon represents character sketches of the desire for greatness. Both men seek greatness, and to be recognized for both its pursuit and accomplishment. They are unrelenting in their respective drives and it is for this reason that they collide so often in Homer’s epic. Both believe themselves to be inherently superior to their contemporaries and are not afraid to show it. The primary difference between both of them is where they see greatness lies. Agamemnon does not conceal his belief that leaders and political kings represent greatness, and that armies and soldiers follow. Achilles’ view is a bit different in that the glory of the nation lies in the exploits of the soldiers: national glory is only possible with the glory of the nation. I think that this difference is what causes the friction between them. Based on the fact that Homer focuses so much on Achilles’ transformation and his evolution at the end of the epic, he probably ends up supporting Achilles’ viewpoint on greatness over Agamemnon. 

6. Why does a conflict take place between Agamemnon and Achilles in the Iliad? 

Ans: This conflict emerges at the beginning of the poem and is crucial to the advancement of the plot. It also marks an interesting parallel to the cause of the Trojan War itself: a dispute over Helen between Menelaus and Paris. After the Greeks sack a city allied with Troy, Agamemnon and Achilles each make off with a young woman. When Agamemnon is forced to give up his “prize,” a girl named Chryseis, he determines to take Briseis, who has been awarded to Achilles. Achilles angrily protests and orders his men not to fight with the Greeks. He seeks the support of Zeus, who aids the Trojans. They meet with great success, thus showing the importance of Achilles to the Greek cause. The disagreement, then, is really about honour. Agamemnon profoundly insults Achilles by taking Briseis from him, and since Achilles never really acknowledged Agamemnon’s authority, he revolts. Even when Agamemnon agrees to return Briseis along with some gifts, Achilles still sulks in his tent. Only the death of Patroclus (disguised as Achilles himself) at the hands of Hector motivates Achilles to rejoin the fight. He avenges his friend’s death by killing Hector, whose funeral marks the end of the poem. 

7. In the Iliad, what happens because of Achilles’ anger? What are the three consequences?  

Ans: The first consequence of Achilles’ anger is that withdraws from the fighting and remains lounging in his tent. Shakespeare has comic scenes involving Achilles amusing himself in his tent along with Patroclus and the scurrilous clown Thersites in the play Troilus and Cressida. 

The second consequence is that without Achilles the Trojans are the superior fighting force. This is largely due to the leadership and example of their great hero Hector. Without Achilles, the Trojans begin overpowering the Greeks and driving them back towards their ships. Many Greeks appeal to Achilles to rejoin the fighting, but he is adamant. He wants them to appreciate how much they need him. 

The third consequence is that Achilles’ friend Patroclus borrowed Achilles’ armour in the hope of frightening the Trojans, who have advanced so far that they are fighting among the Greek ships and trying to set fire to them. But Hector slays Patroclus, thinking he is slaying Achilles. The death of his friend so enrages Achilles that he gives up his sulking in his tent and goes out to fight. He chases the entire Trojan army back behind the walls of Troy, with the exception of Hector, who decides to fight Achilles single-handedly. This is the climax of Homer’s Iliad. Achilles kills Hector and drags his body around the city behind his chariot. Without Hector it seems obvious that the Trojans are now destined to lose the long war. There is a great feeling of gloom and foreboding among the Trojans at the end of the Iliad. 

8. Why does Achilles refuse to fight for the Greeks when Agamemnon takes Briseis? Is it love of Briseis? Honour? Pride? 

Ans: Achilles is a Greek hero, and this means he has character flaws. Achilles is enraged when Agamemnon takes Briseis, and this action threatens his pride. Achilles is egotistical and craves glory and fame. He would rather see the Greeks lose than allow Agamemnon to insult him, and this is Achilles’ major flaw that eventually leads to his downfall. When Patroclus dies, Achilles aoes back to the war and uses his hatred of Agamemnon against Hector. He desecrates Hector’s body after death and shows no mercy against his enemies. A good leader would always consider his men before himself, but Achilles’ pride doesn’t allow him to be this kind of leader. 

9. What is the moral of the story of the Iliad of Homer? 

Ans: As readers of books suggest, there may be many morals in a work of such length and complexity as Homer’s Iliad. As his post also suggests, “the costs of pride” can be argued to be the central moral of the tale. would offer the idea that “right action” is the central moral of the epic poem. 

By “right action” I intend to refer to the idea that one’s essential nature determines both one’s social status and a resulting mandate for certain behaviour in the context of Homer’s Iliad. 

There is a notion at work in the poem that is closely related to the idea of dharma: who you are, at root, determines what is “right” for you to do. What one can do and what one is allowed to do is a function of one’s essential being, which is reflected in one’s social status. Morality and identity are closely linked. 

In the ancient Greek context, position is very important. We notice that the range of one’s abilities is always equal to one’s stature. One’s “rights” to property and one’s range of acceptable behaviour are also roughly equivalent to one’s stature and abilities. Thus, Zeus can do whatever he wants. He is so powerful as to be the determining moral factor, as it were. 

This notion of “right action” is, arguably, the root of all the action in the narrative and also serves to generate nearly all of the conflicts in the tale – including those conflicts that feature the gods in dispute with one another (Aries vs. Athena, Poseidon vs. Zeus, etc.). 

“Hera and Athena are angry at (or even hate) the Trojans generally, and Paris specifically, because he chose Aphrodite over them as the most beautiful even before the war began” (eNotes). 

Right action, in the ancient Greek context, is not aligned directly with contemporary views of moral action as we see again and again in the story of the Iliad. 

For instance, we can say that the conflict between Achilles and Agamemnon is related to “right action” in the Greek context. As the king, Agamemnon claims a primacy of property rights and so claims ownership of the captive Briseis. This claim to primacy is disputed by Achilles, who is a greater warrior than Agamemnon and who previously had been given the rights to Briseis. 

From a contemporary standpoint, neither man has a moral right to claim a slave. In the ancient Greek context, however, the debate about who should own Briseis is tantamount to a debate about who is in possession of the greater “nature” – Achilles, the half-god, or Agamemnon, the king. 

The Greek losses in battle ultimately prove that Achilles is the greater of the two. Agamemnon finally yields. Achilles takes the field and kills Hector. 

Notably, due to Hector’s stature, Achilles agrees to honour the wishes of Priam and allow for full funeral rights and a period of mourning. Hector’s status thus determines what is “right” in the situation – or what consideration is due to him. Right action and due consideration are, again, given an equivalency here. 

10. What is the relationship between gods and mortals in Homer’s Iliad? 

Ans: Greek religion, as portrayed in the Homeric epics, is characterised as “anthropomorphic.” That means that the gods have “human forms.” They are similar to humans in more than just outward form. Despite being stronger and more powerful than humans, they have human motivations and emotions. Zeus, the king of the nods, is a lecher, chasing after women and boys. Hera, his wife, is jealous. Aphrodite, the goddess of love, commits adultery. The gods are subject to jealousy, anger, lust, pride, and benevolence. Also, rather than acting together, they tend to squabble with each other, just as human families do. 

Next, the relationship between gods and mortals is often described by the Latin phrase “do ut des” (“I give that you might give”). Mortals offer the gods worship, loyalty, and sacrifices in exchange for practical aid in war. marriage, farming, and other daily activities. Morals also arrange sacrifices to propitiate the gods and avert their anger. 

The gods intervene in every aspect of daily life, giving advice, deflecting weapons, creating magical disguises, sending plagues, and generally using their powers to help the mortals they favour and harm the ones they dislike, limited only by laws of necessity. 

11. Is Homer’s ” Iliad” relevant today and why? 

Ans: The Iliad, like all great works of art, is of continued relevance because it deals with universal themes. The characters in the poem may have, what seem to us, strange names; their codes of honour and social conventions are completely alien to ours; and their belief in a pantheon of gods constantly intervening on behalf of mortals is something many of us find hard to accept. Nonetheless, if we strip away all the extrinsic detail, we are left with recognizably human concerns that still speak to us today. 

The twenty-first century is considerably more brutal and mired in conflict than the Homeric world. Although people are perhaps more aware than ever before of the horrors of war, nonetheless wars do still break out with frightening regularity, and often over quite trivial matters. 

As in Homer’s time, the vast majority of war’s victims are innocent civilians. After Achilles slays Hector, we are left in no doubt as to how the Trojan War will end. Every last Trojan male will be slaughtered, and their families taken as slaves. We like to think of ourselves as more civilised than our ancient Greek forebears, and yet, one cursory glance at the world today provides us with human suffering on a scale unimaginable to the people of Greece and Troy. 

But the Iliad isn’t just a catalogue of endless slaughter; there are also traces of deep humanity. The wailing and lamentation of the Trojan women over the death of Hector; the quiet dignity of his father, Priam as he goes to the Achaean camp to request the return of his son’s body for burial; the noble desire of Hector to spare the lives of as many of his men as possible, in stark contrast to Achilles’s savage recklessness. Even in the midst of all this unspeakable carnage, we can still catch a glimpse of the universal qualities of humanity that transcend the contingencies of time and place to live on through the ages and into the present day. 

12. What relevance does the Iliad have today in modern times? 

Ans: The topic of the modern-day relevance of The Iliad offers scholars many different facets to explore. War, suffering, heroism, and masculinity are all themes from The Iliad that many would agree are contemporary hot topics. 

The Iliad explores the themes of suffering and war in exceptional detail, themes which are inextricably tied with the act of telling stories about heroes. Heroes are individuals who inspire others, and no matter what time in history a reader of The Iliad lives, this kind of inspiration is important. Definitions of heroic behaviour may change, but culture’s need for heroes is static. 

As well, conflicts between groups of humans have always existed in history, and they exist today as global newspapers report daily. The Iliad demonstrates to some that the impulse to go to war is perhaps a human one that cannot be mollified no matter how convincing a pacifist argument might sound. To others, war is one manifestation of masculine anger and aggression, and other scholars say that these emotions need release; such a release will happen, whether societies want this release or not. No matter how an individual feels about war, the reality is that war is a facet of society that seems ineradicable, which is one reason why The Iliad still resonates today. 

13. What modern celebrity could be compared to Achilles of The Iliad? 

Ans: As I read your question, I started thinking about people the world thinks of as “having it all” but who somehow “blew it” because of one fatal weakness. You use the word “celebrity,” so I assume this needs to be someone recognizable as well as someone who is somehow seen as a hero. Two men came quickly to mind: President Bill Clinton and Tiger Woods. 

President Clinton was arguably the most powerful man in the world when he was in office. He had a powerful and supportive wife, a loving daughter, and he was in the enviable position of being able to call any ruler of any country in the world and at least be heard. He had everything, including the love of the majority of the American people. And then came the Monica Lewinsky scandal and his eventual impeachment and censure. What a low moment for such a powerful man; he succumbed to his one failing–women. Clinton. of course, recovered from this personal failing (actually many failings, since this was just the most public incident of many) and is still beloved and sought-after by people all over the world. 

The second celebrity who had a similar failing, though it looks different, is Tiger Woods. Arguably the best golfer who ever lived, Tiger just seemed to have it all: money, fame, athletic ability, a lovely wife and kids, you name it. Then it all blew up. His numerous extra-marital affairs became public and he lost it all, including many of his fans and nearly all of his sponsors–and even his stunning ability to play the game at a level no one ever has. His inability to be faithful to one woman was his achilles heel, and it remains to be seen whether he, like Clinton, will recover. 

14. Is the subject of The Iliad the wrath of Achilles? 

Ans: As the previous answer notes, The Iliad contains much more than just the wrath of Achilles, including the stories of individual Greek warrior-kings–Agamemnon, Menelaus, Nestor, Odysseus, Diomedes, the two Ajaxes–and their Trojan counterparts, chiefly Hector, but including Paris and Agenor and other Trojan warriors. But the central element of the poem is Achilles’ decision to withdraw from the battle and the consequences of that decision. A recent translation of The Iliad emphasises the disastrous nature of Achilles’ anger at Agamemnon: 

Wrath, goddess, sing of Achilles Peleus’s son’s/calamitous wrath, which hit the Achaians with countless ills–many the valiant souls it saw off down to Hades. . .. (Peter Green trans., I:1-3) 

As translator, Green focuses on the many Greek warriors whose deaths are directly related to Achilles’ withdrawal from the fight because, when Achilles withdraws his and his Myrmidons support, that void is then filled by Hector and other Trojan warriors. During Achilles’ absence, for example, Hector and the Trojans push the Greeks back to their last defensive position, threatening the Greeks’ ships. 

When we are immersed in the poem–which refers to numerous events outside the scope of The Iliad–we forget that we are reading about a two-month period (roughly) in a ten-year war that has consumed an entire generation of Greek and Trojan warriors. Within that ten-year period, the Greeks–because Troy itself is so well protected-have been raiding and pillaging all the smaller towns surrounding Troy, and Achilles’ wrath is directly related to an attack on one of these towns in which he captures a young woman, Briseis, who becomes the cause of Achilles’ anger when Agamemnon, in a stupid power play to show his ability to take something even from Achilles, takes Briseis as compensation for having to give up another captive woman, Chryseis. 

The centrality ofAchilles’ wrath at Agamemnon and its resolution becomes clear in Book 19 when, after the death of his friend Patroclus, Achilles’ wrath shifts from Agamemnon: 

‘Son of Atreus [Agamemnon], was it really the best thing for both of us,/ . . . should rage on in heart-rending strife because of a girl? . . . Fewer Achaians then would have bitten the boundless earth/at the enemy’s hands. (Green, trans. 19:56-62) 

Of course, Achilles is more interested in killing Patroclus’ killer, Hector, than he is saving other Greek warriors, but the undeniable fact is that when Achilles rejoins the war–and especially after he kills Hector, the leading Trojan warrior–the Trojans’ are living on expensively borrowed time as Achilles goes through Trojan warriors like a scythe through dry wheat. 

In sum, then, it is correct to say that The Iliad is not only about the wrath of Achilles, but Achilles, his pride, his skills as a warrior, and his anger are at the centre of the poem. 

15. Explain Achilles’ pride and stubbornness in the Iliad by Homer. 

Ans: Homer’s Iliad features the great warrior Achilles. As a demi-god, his mother was a sea god and his father was a mortal. This gives Achilles great strength of body and character, though he is not immortal. He is the greatest Achaean soldier and additionally lives by a strict code of ethics. 

Achilles battles constantly with his king Agamemnon. This causes many of the problems that face the Greeks as they battle against the city of Troy and the Trojan soldiers. 

Agamemnon offends Achilles severely when he requires Achilles to give him his woman Briseis, whom Achilles loved. Achilles withdraws from the battle knowing that the Greek armies cannot win without his participation. 

Achilles has several flaws, though he has lived by the heroic code all of his life. He is too proud, which keeps him from accepting apologies from Agamemnon for his taking Briseis. In addition, Achilles has difficulty containing his anger. Other than with Patroklos, Achilles has difficulty communicating with people. His life has been isolated; without a real home, Achilles has had to learn to depend on others when needed. 

In several situations, it is his anger that keeps Achilles from achieving the glory that he was born to achieve. Sometimes, his anger leads to cruel behaviour; some of the most violent scenes in the story come from Achilles’ anger. 

Achilles has only one true friend, Patroklos, who has been his friend since childhood. Patroklos serves as an advisor to Achilles. Patroklos is older but not as strong in his fighting skills as Achilles. He is subservient to Achilles, performing menial tasks. 

Another of Patroklos’ duties is to keep a check on Achilles’ anger. He also encourages Achilles to behave under a moral code, particularly in his relationship with Briseis. Patroklos does rise to the occasion and shows himself to be brave and daring in battle. In the battle, Patroklos shows himself to be a courageous and effective warrior. Thinking that he can perform as effectively as Achilles, Patroklos wears Achilles’ armour. But after fighting effectively in three battles, Patroklos is injured by Apollo, which makes him vulnerable to Hector who kills him. As he dies, Patrolos predicts that Achilles will avenge him by killing Hector. 

As a friend, Achilles often mistreated Patroklos. Yet, Achilles is devastated by the death of his companion. He vows revenge against Hector: 

There was a time, ill fated, o dearest of all my companions, 

when you yourself would set the desirable dinner before me quickly and expertly, at the time the Achaians were urgent to carry sorrowful war on the Trojans, breakers of horses. But now you lie here torn before me, and my heart goes starved for meat and drink, though they are here beside me, by reason of longing for- you. There is nothing worse than this I could suffer… 

Achilles swears revenge for his friend’s death and goes on to battle and kill Hector. Unfortunately, Achilles commits a social error when he mutilates the body and does not return it to Hektcir’s people. 

As a great warrior, there was none that could match his skills. It was his wrath, pride, and grief, however, that forced Achilles to behave as a human and less as a hero. 

16. Analyse the character of Achilles in the Iliad. 

Ans: Achilles is a fascinating character to consider by the 21st century standards of what constitutes a hero. He is clearly presented as something of a superhero with amazing strength and as somebody enjoying divine favour, however his actions present him as being something of an anti-hero. He has a number of negative characteristics that prevent him from acting as a true hero should, and notably he is a victim to his own emotions of pride and rage. At one point, he even leaves the battlefield and prays that his comrades will face death at the hands of the Trojans, overcome by his wounded pride and rage. Above all, what seems to motivate Achilles is a desire for glory so that he will achieve immortality as a result of his deeds, but, as the opening lines of the indicates, his deeds have achieved immortality for him, but also a certain notoriety as well: 

Rage—Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles, murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses, 

hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls, great fighters’ souls, but made their bodies carrion, feasts for the dogs and birds, and the will of Zeus was moving toward its end. 

Whatever views readers may have of war and of the noble heroes who fight in war, this epic poem focuses from its very first word on the “rage” which defines Achilles and the sense of his anger which he is unable to control. This anger is something that domi-nates him throughout the entire poem, and, as this quote makes clear, has significant ramifications in the form of “countless losses” and the loss of “so many sturdy souls” as great fighters are made into “feasts for the dogs and birds.” Although the sympathies of the reader are perhaps engaged when Patroclus dies, and the grieving of Achilles is shown, this does not last for long as the way in which Achilles kills Hector and treats his body clearly questions his heroic status. The character of Achilles therefore is an extremely complex figure who can be used to explore what is meant by the word “hero” and whether having superhuman strength is enough in itself to be given that title. 

17. In the Iliad, what are the accomplishments of Achilles? 

Ans: This question is interesting, because it seems to focus alone on the positive achievements of Achilles, which is slightly difficult, as he is a character who throughout this text is associated with mighty deeds and with military prowess, but at the same time every deed is also linked to his immaturity and temper and his inability to control his emotions. This is something that is highlighted at the very beginning of the text as a whole, Alen the narrator says many men died at the hands of Achilles: 

Sing, 0 goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and mari a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures, for sr were the counsels of Jove fulfilled from the day on which the son of Atreus, king of men, and great Achilles, first fell out with one another. Achilles simply isn’t praised for his exploits in this poem, as this quote indicates. His military skill as a warrior is only said to result in “countless ills” for the Achaeans, and the death of “brave souls” and the slaughtering of heroes who were turned into carrion as.a result. So, although the poem does testify to his skill and prowess, and these events are highlighted through his killing of Hector, and the way he confronts the river Xanthus, at each point these exploits are reported in such a way that indicates his negative aspects. For example, after defeating Hector in battle, Achilles deliberately desecrates his body in front of the Trojans. In fact, in the text, Hector is compared with Achilles in a way that makes him appear much better and more noble than the somewhat petty figure of Achilles. 

18. In The Iliad, what are the four results of Achilles’ pride? 

Ans: There are four major results of Achilles’ pride to be found throughout The Iliad; including alienation, wrath, vengeance, and death. 


The Greek warrior Agamemnon insults Achilles’ pride by demanding that he surrender Briseis. Briseis was a maid Achilles had claimed as a prize of war, and Agamemnon’s demand challenges Achilles’ status as a leader. As a result, he withdraws from the Greek forces and does nothing to help when the Trojans attack. This alienation segues directly into the next result of Achilles’ pride, which is his wrath. 


Achilles’ pride commonly results in wrath, which is a major theme throughout The Iliad. The Muse is even asked to sing the “wrath of Achilles.” Achilles has a strong sense of honour that leads him to wrath as a response to certain events that violate his high standards of honour, particularly the capture of Briseis. To the Greeks, honour was based on the pursuit of excellence, nobility, valour, and accomplishment. The wrath of Achilles is strongly related to each concept, and all stem from his pride as a warrior. Whenever Achilles’ pride leads him to feel that his honour has been violated, wrath is the result. 


When Achilles’ friend Patroclus is killed by Hector, Achilles’ pride plays a large role in his quest for vengeance. It is also his pride, both in himself as a warrior and in his friendship with Patroclus, that leads him to kill Hector on the battlefield. Despite Achilles’ disdain for the fallen warrior, Hector’s father successfully recovers his son’s body by appealing to Achilles’ pride through begging. 


As the son of a mortal man and a goddess, Achilles was given the choice between living with the gods in a peaceful existence and pursuing glory among the humans. He chooses the life of a warrior and, in doing so. dies the death of an honoured mortal. This choice exemplifies Achilles’ pride better than any other. Rather than live a peaceful and long life without valour, his pride motivates him to lead the dangerous life of a warrior. Achilles is the greatest warrior among the Achaeans, which further bolsters his pride and confidence. 

Throughout The Iliad, it is heavily implied that Achilles’ fabled heel is a metaphor for his pride. After being dipped in the river Styx, Achilles is invulnerable everywhere except the heel by which his mother held him. Both his pride and his heel serve as his primary weaknesses. In the end, Achilles is killed by an arrow that strikes his vulnerable heel. Hector’s brother is the one who shoots the arrow and kills Achilles out of vengeance. Because Achilles’ pride was the primary reason he killed Hector, it could be argued that his pride indirectly leads to his own death. 

Through these four results of Achilles’ pride, we see that this characteristic is both his greatest strength and his most fatal weakness. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top