World Literature Iliad Argumentative Research Paper

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World Literature Iliad Argumentative Research Paper

As a culminating evaluation of our unit on heroes and the Iliad, we are going to research topics that deal with the subject of heroes and the Iliad. After choosing a topic and conducting enough research to formulate an opinion that you can support throughout your paper, you will create a claim statement and start writing your paper!

Choose ONE of the following prompts to create your claim statement:

  • Analyze whether Achilles ultimately emerges as a sympathetic character or not.

    • Some suggested questions to consider:

      • Is Achilles the epic hero? Can he be a hero and a sympathetic character at the same time?

  • Discuss Homer’s portrayal of the gods in the Iliad.

    • Some suggested questions to consider:

      • What is their relationship with the mortals? With fate? How might Homer have chosen the gods as a frequent source of comic relief? What larger points does Homer seem to be making by depicting the gods as he does?

  • Discuss how the Iliad portrays the relationships between fathers and sons.

    • Some suggested questions to consider:

      • Pay particular attention to Priam and Hector, as well as Achilles and Peleus and consider, how do these relationships between fathers and sons differ from those between mothers and sons?

  • Discuss the values of the Homeric hero, paying particular attention to contrasting characters such as Achilles, Paris, and Hector.

    • Some suggested questions to consider:

      • Is there a “heroic code” that guides the decisions of the character in the Iliad? What is it?

  • Evaluate the role fate play in the emotional and psychological effect of the Iliad.

    • Some suggested questions to consider:

      • Why does Homer make his characters aware of their impending doom?

  • Discuss whether the themes and messages of the Iliad are relevant to contemporary society today?

    • Some suggested questions to consider:

      • What are the major themes of the Iliad? Who do we consider to be heroes in our society today and how is that different from ancient Greece?

Claim Statements

A claim statement is a one sentence, arguable statement that:

  • Tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject

  • Directly answers the question asked of you. A claim is an interpretation of a question or subject, NOT the subject itself.

It is NOT:

  • A straight opinion- Example: Achilles is an awesome hero.

  • A statement of fact- Example: Homer wrote the Iliad

  • A question- Example: Who really is the epic hero of the Iliad?

How to write a strong claim statement:

Step #1: Choose a topic and do some research on that topic. For example, if you choose a topic about the themes of the Iliad, you need to do some research on what are the themes and what others have to say about those themes. Remember, this is the time to change your topic if you either cannot find enough information on the topic, OR you cannot generate an opinion on the topic. You are writing an entire paper on this topic, so LOVE IT! 

Step #2: After researching your topic, formulate an argument. Basically, think about your topic and form an opinion and then take that opinion and turn it into one arguable statement. DO NOT use “I think,” “I feel,” or “I believe.” Your claim statement should NEVER use “I.”

Step #3: After you write your one arguable statement that is your claim statement, it is time to consider body paragraphs. Underline all points your claim statement raises; these become the topic sentences of your body paragraphs.

My Claim Statement: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


_____ Does your statement use any “be” verbs? Take them out!

_____ Does your statement use any first or second person pronouns? Take them out!

_____ Is your claim statement a question? Change it!

_____ Is your statement arguable?

_____ Is your statement in PRESENT tense? Make sure!

_____ Is your claim ONE sentence only?

How to Create Topic Sentences

Every single body paragraph is led by a topic sentence. A topic sentence is like a mini claim statement that guides the reader through your paragraphs. Your entire goal is to convince your reader to believe what you are saying is valid, so you want to build a good, strong argument. You do not want to confuse your readers and topic sentences act as a road map for readers to navigate through your argument.

Creating topic sentence:

Step #1: Write out your claim statement.

Step #2: Underline each main idea presented in your statement. For example, if my claim statement is “While both sides fought the Civil War over the issue of slavery, the North fought for moral reasons while the South fought to preserve its own institution,” you can see that each underlined portion can be a paragraph on its own!

Step #3: Take those points and create a one arguable statement, much like you did for your claim statement. For example, I could generate my first topic sentence to look like, “The North fought for morality because….”

Step #4: Now that you have your topic sentence, it is time to organize your body paragraphs!

My Topic Sentences (at LEAST three):





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