The Iliad, Books I and XXII final essay/project due Friday, Oct. 11th



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The Iliad, Books I and XXII FINAL ESSAY/PROJECT Due Friday, Oct. 11th

Part A. Choose one of the following topics to address in an analytical essay. Requirements include:

  • TBE (Text-based evidence) 75%

  • Minimum 500 words

  • 12 Font Times New Roman or similar font

  • Well edited


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 in Books I and XXII. Points to consider include the nature of fate*, the gods’ interaction with men, limitations put on the gods by fate
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. Points to consider include the heroic code** as seen in the play, power struggles, offers of reconciliation and when they are made, position as leaders
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 Books I and XXII. Points to consider include mortal women as war prizes and/or gifts, goddesses’ assertion of power, alliances of goddesses
Part B. Please choose one of the following projects. 25%
A. Create and present an artifact from the readings. Be prepared to discuss the significance of the artifact and why you chose it.

B. Rewrite a portion of the readings into common syntax. This rewrite should be in the form of a poem or rap song, and should be a rewrite of at least 25 lines.

C. Enact a scene from the readings. The more props you have, the better your grade. Lines should be memorized. Your cast should include two or three people.

D. Draw a poster (24” x 18” or larger, poster board) depicting a scene or “Movie Advertisement” promoting the play. Who will play the characters? Include a two or three line synopsis of the play.


**Heroic Code - The warriors of the Iliad are bound by the heroic code, which dictates their behavior in all aspects of social interaction. Above all else, the hero valued his honor. Honor was judged to a great extent by strength in battle, but also to a large degree by adherence to the heroic code. The code is evident many times in battle, as pacts of friendship several generations old are honored in the midst of great carnage. We constantly see warriors avenging the deaths of their companions. The code is also evident in examples of the “guest-host” relationship, in which certain hospitality and behavior is expected. One of the effects of a code is to encourage conformity and an ordered society. Such unity is essential during battle as each man counts on his fellow warriors to cover him and to avenge him should he die. Paris represents a violation of the social order of Troy: he flagrantly violated his responsibilities as a guest in the Menelaus’s house. Likewise, while Achilles is angry with Agamemnon, he is acting as an individual removed from society. Ultimately, part of his transformation involves his renewed participation in the community and a restored sense of social order.

*Fate - Homer depicts Fate as a force that even the gods cannot change but something that people determine for themselves by the choices they make. Homer depicts Fate as, rather paradoxically, a force that even the gods cannot change but something that people determine for themselves by the choices they make.


On One Hand: Characters Accept Their Fate

In Book 19 when Achilles chooses to ride into battle after the death of Patroclus, he is warned that the gods have destined him for the same fate of death. However, he knows this already and chooses to go into battle anyway. In Book 20, Zeus chooses to lift the ban on the gods' interference in the war, in order to prevent Achilles from sacking Troy "before its fated time."
On the Other: Fate is Not All-Powerful

Homer is not implying that the characters lack free will. In fact, Achilles could have changed the fate of Troy if Zeus and the other gods would have allowed him to attack it. Even Zeus at times seems subject to fate, choosing to withdraw from aiding Troy because he knows it is "fated" to fall.
Bottom Line

Though both humans and gods seem to believe that they are subjected to fate, often it seems that someone's fate can be changed by certain decisions or acts. Ultimately Homer understands that great cosmic forces like Fate, Fury, and Ruin are ultimately beyond anyone's comprehension.





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