Book: The Iliad
About the Author: The time and location of where Homer lived is controversial. According to Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian, he estimated that Homer lived about 400 years before Herodotus’ own time, which would place Homer around 850 BC. Some ancient sources are claiming that he lived near the time of the Trojan War in early 1200 BC. More than seven different places have claimed that Homer was born in their lands, therefore no one really knows. As for where he went to school is unknown, there is very little information about his real existence. Ancient Greeks believed is his existence, some researchers today are skeptical and consider him to be a fictitious person. Due to the little information of his existence his family origin is unknown. Some of the biggest influences of Homer writing is the Trojan War that is going on and is the place where the book is set, and the Greek Gods since they appear in the epic poem of The Iliad and Odyssey.
Setting: The setting of the epic poem The Iliad begins about nine years after the start of the Trojan War, within the city of Troy. The time period of that time is known as the Bronze Age, 1200 BC- 1300 BC.
Characters: The major characters within The Iliad are Achilles, Agamemnon and Hector.
Achilles: The main character of the story. He is the son of the military man Peleus and the sea nymph Thetis. He is considered the most powerful warrior in the Iliad, he possesses superhuman strength and has a close relationship with the gods themselves. He commands the Myrmidons, the soldiers from his Homeland of Phthia in Greece. He has lots of pride and when he feels when his pride is hurt, he cannot control his rage. He thirst for glory and will sacrifice anything so his name will be remembered.
Agamennon: He is the King of Mycenae and the older brother of the king of Menelaus; and is the commander of the Achaean army. He is arrogant and selfish often, however provides the Acheans army with strong, but reckless leadership. Never lets the Acheans forget his kingly status. He resembles Achilles to an extent with his bad temper and pride. Refused to fight due to his honor being hurt but is brought back to battle when his best friend is Patroclus is killed.
Hector: The mightiest warrior within the Trojan army. He is the son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba. He resembles Achilles, but his lust for blood is not the same. He has a wife, Andromache, and his son, Astyanx. His leadership contains discernible flaws. He is devoted to his wife and his son, he resents his Brother Paris for bring the war, but later treats him with forgiveness and indulgence.
Patroclus: Is Achilles best friend and advisor. He grew up alongside with Achilles in Phthia under the guardianship of Peleus, Achilles father. Was killed in battle by Hector and it brings back Achilles to the battle.
Odysseus: He is the King of Ithaca, the son of Laertes and is the beloved of Athena. He is one of Achaeans public speakers along with Nestor. Is the Mediator between Agamenon and Achilles when they fight and stop them from making rash decisions.
Ajax (the Lesser): A commander in the Achaean army. He fights alongside Ajax the Greater in battle. Has a small size and is swift in battle.
Menelaus: Is the King of Sparta and is the younger brother of Agamemnon. His wife Helen is abducted by Prince Paris of the Trojans; sparks the flams of the Trojan War.
Diomedes: The youngest commander of the Achaean army. Is inspired by Athena and is able to wound two gods with the courage he gained.
Ajax (the Greater): A commander in the Achaean army and is the second strongest warrior after Achilles. Often paired up with Ajax the Lesser in battle. Has a Huge built and strength.
Nestor: King of Pylos and the oldest Achaean commander. Has great wisdom with his old age. He acts as an advisor to the other commanders.
Aeneas: Son of Aphrodite, a Trojan Nobleman and a mighty warrior of the Trojan Army.
Priam: King of try and husband of Hecuba. He is a father to fifty Trojan warriors. Has the respect of the Trojans and even the Achaeans by his wisdom and benevolent rule.
Astyanax: The son of Hector and Andromache.
Hecuba: Wife of Priam and Queen of Troy. The mother of Hector and Paris.
Paris: Son of Priam and Hecuba and the brother of Hector. He abducted Helan, the wife of King Menelaus; sparked the Trojan War. Fight well with the bow and arrow however prefers to stay in his room having intercourse with Helen.
Polydamas: A Trojan commander. Often gives advice to the Trojans and Hector seldom acts on it.
Antenor : Advisor to King Priam and father to many Trojan warriors. Argues to Paris that Helen should be returned to end the war.
Helen: Her reputation is known as the most beautiful woman. Was stolen by Paris of the Trojans from her husband Menelaus. Her being taken is the reason for the Trojan War. She continues to stay with Paris.
Andromache : Hectors wife and wishes him to withdraw from the war.
Briseis: The war prize to Achilles. Agamemnon appropriates her as compensation when Chryses is returned to her father. Sparks the rage in Achilles.
Protagonist(s)/Antagonist(s): The protagonist of The Iliad is Achilles of the Achaeans army while the antagonist is Hector of the Trojan army.
Climax of the Book: When Achilles returns to combat when his beloved friend Patroclus is killed by Hector it turns the tide against the Trojans once and for all and ensures the fated fall of Troy.
Style: The way that The Iliad is written in is the form of an epic poem in dactylic Hexameters. The Homeric poems style arranges words in the line so that there is an interplay between the metrical ictus and the natural, spoken accent of words. The first line in The Iliad is an example, “Sing, goddess, the wrath of Peleus’ son Achilles”
Vocabulary: There were many words in the book that I did not know, and I really could not get what it meant by reading so I had to look a lot up for me to even understand the book. Here are some of the many I didn’t know.
Ignominious: Marked by shame or disgrace: degrading; debasing.
Clandestine: Characterized by, done in, or executed with secrecy or concealment, esp. for purposes of subversion.
Deign: To think fit or in accordance with one's dignity; condescend.
Thwart: To oppose successfully; prevent from accomplishing a purpose.
Blithering: To talk foolishly; blather.
Trafficked: To trade or deal in a specific commodity or service, often of an illegal nature.
Reparations: Compensation in money, material, labor, etc., payable by a defeated country to another country or to an individual for loss suffered during or as a result of war.
Brazen: Like brass, as in sound, color, or strength.
Incidents: In the third chapter, there is a dueling scene between Menelaus and Paris. Paris challenges the Achaeans to single combat with any warrior. Menelaus steps forward and Paris loses his confidence and goes and hides in the Trojan ranks. Hector, Paris brother, insults him about his cowardice and he goes and agrees to the duel. Menelaus declares that the contest will establish peace between Trojans and Achaeans by deciding once and for all which man shall have Helen, a fight for love. During the duel, Menelaus breaks his sword over Paris’s helmet and then grabs him by the helmet and starts dragging him across the dirt. However Aphrodite snaps the strap on the helmet so that it breaks off in Menelaus’s hands. Frustrated that Paris received help, Menelaus grabs his spear and almost drives it into Paris however, Aphrodite whisks Paris away to his room in Priam’s palace. Receiving more help from someone even though it was a single combat, and it was a battle over love as well. Agamemnon insists that Menelaus has won the duel since Paris left, and he demands that Helen is giving back to him. A fight between two men for a single girl, a battle of love that gets interrupted by getting outside help / interference.
In the eighteenth chapter, there is a grieving scene over Patroclus. Achillies grieves over a lost his lost beloved friend and wants revenge. Antilochus brings word to Achilles of Patroclus’s death, Achilles loses control of his emotions. He weeps and beats the ground with his fists and covers his face with dirt. He gives a horrible and wrenching cry that Thetis hears him and comes with her water nymph sisters from the ocean to learn what troubles her son. Achilles tells her of the tragedy and insists that he exact avenge on Hector, despite this knowledge that one who chooses to live the life of a warrior; he is fated to die young. The grievance over a friend can drive a person mad and emotionally unstable.