Thesis for this essay

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Humanities I

Test #2 Sample Paragraphs Activity
THESIS FOR THIS ESSAY: In all aspects of their culture, the Greeks explored the ideal, which sometimes included the use of illusion and/or flaw.
FOCUS FOR THIS PARAGRAPH : one character from the Iliad (CHOOSE ONE ONLY)


The concrete detail (CD) has been highlighted for you in each writing sample. Notice that writers do not necessarily have to give all CD first, then all commentary (CM). In fact, more sophisticated writers weave the two together. The most important thing to remember for essays typed at home is to have approximately a ratio of 1 CD to 2 CM. However, in-class essay tests must always include exhaustive, thorough CD. To make sure you have the CDs the teacher is watching for, a ratio of 1 CD to 1 CM will function well in a test environment. Always be sure to give as much CD as possible, but don’t dump everything you know on the page unless it specifically supports your topic sentence and thesis!


In the right hand column, give each sample a grade. Give points out of 10 for CD. Then give points out of 10 for CM. There are a total of 20 points per answer. Next, give some comments on the CD and CM. Keep in mind that minor spelling, grammar, and word choice problems, as seen in these examples, do not detract from the grade in a test setting. In your comments, state what is positive about the sample. Also give suggestions for improvement.


TS = Topic Sentence (gives the topic and main point for the paragraph)

CD = Concrete Detail CM = Commentary

Achilles is an example of the ideal and the opposite of the ideal in the Iliad. Achilles is a warrior who was dipped in a river by his mother as he was held by his heel. When he goes to battle the only spot in which others can kill him is his heel. When Achilles hears of the war and how they want him to fight he asks his mom to help him evade it and dresses like a woman to hide. This is the opposite of the ideal, because a great warrior shouldn’t hesitate to fight. He hears that he will die if he fights, so he tries to hide thinking of only himself and not his people. When Achilles kills Hector, he decides to drag the body by chariot in front of Troy even after Hector pleads with him. Achilles is upset over the murder of his good friend Patroclus by Hector. Achilles lets his anger get the best of him and he takes his rage out on Hector and punishes him after death. This shows that the ideal and a great warrior can be disrupted by his love for himself and others over his country.

CD: _____ / 10 CM: ______ / 10 ______ / 20 total

Topic sentence at the top—good.

Homer portrayed the ideal through the character of Hector in The Iliad. Hector was a warrior, a father, and a husband, and he balanced his roles perfectly. In one scene he takes off his scary warrior’s helmet to talk to his son, so that his son will not be afraid. Hector does not desire to go to war, but still does so courageously and bravely like a good warrior. This also shows that he is naturally peaceful and good natured. He has no desire to go kill anyone. Helen tells Hector that she wishes her husband Paris were more like Hector. Everyone falls in love with Hector. I cried when Hector died.

CD: _____ / 10 CM: ______ / 10 ______ / 20 total

Through Greek epics, we can see the ideal characteristic in story form. Hector of Troy in The Iliad shows the ideal because of the perfect balance he achieved as father, brother, son, husband, and soldier. When he is at the wall that surrounds Troy talking to his wife, Andromache, and his baby, he treats her with respect and almost has equals. Andromache is pleading with Hector to not go fight the Greeks but Hector says that, “Yes I would feel deep shame if like a coward I were to shrink away from the fighting”. He continues to explain that his spirit won’t let him and he has to honor the Trojans, himself, and his father. He shows the commitment and duty the he has to fulfill as the greatest Trojan soldier. Before he leaves to go fight, and still at the wall with his wife, he “tosses his dear boy about in his arms and blesses him.” Here he is still the loving father focused on his child even when he knows that he will die. Hector does die but as a celebrated hero and almost godly. This could be interpreted as the ideal, this balance between roles but still the great honorable soldier who dies fighting for his people.

CD: _____ / 10 CM: ______ / 10 ______ / 20 total

Character from the Iliad (Agamemnon)
Topic: Agamemnon from the Iliad demonstrates the ideal by being exactly the opposite of ideal.
As testified to by Achilles, Agamemnon was extremely selfish in that he always took the majority of the war spoils, leaving little for his men.

  • Instead of simply giving up Chryseis to save his troops, he requires that Achilles gives him Briseus to make up for the loss.

    • Greeks did not appreciate selfishness.

  • Thought himself to be better than his men, even though they did far more work than he.

    • Signs of Hubris (fatal pride), which is a very common negative thing in Greek literature.

CD: _____ / 10 CM: ______ / 10 ______ / 20 total

In the Iliad, Hector shows the Greek attempt to create the ideal. The Iliad was written in the archaic period of ancient Greece. Hector was portrayed as the hero in the story. He was the strongest fighter of the Trojan army, the son of a king of troy, Priam, and was the enemy to the cold-hearted Spartan, Achilles. Also, he was married and in love with Andromache, with whom he had his baby son, Astyanax. The people of Troy viewed him as their hero and their fighter and mourned his death. And although his body was defiled by Achilles after his death, he was still revived by the Gods. Hector shows the Greek attempt to create an ideal because he is the most god-like individual in the mortal world. He is an ideal fighter because he is a strong fighter for Troy. He is an ideal father and husband because he is a family man – he loves both his son and his wife. He is ideal as a brother and son in his quest to bring Paris to battle and fight for his father’s country. Also, he is ideal to even the Gods for they respect his body after death and mend his scars to make sure that he is not disgraced as a corpse.

CD: _____ / 10 CM: ______ / 10 ______ / 20 total

The Greeks again showed an example of the ideal in the character of Hector, prince of Troy in Homer’s Iliad. Hector is seen as an ideal man (his body is described as “splendid”) because he is able to balance the roles of warrior, father, prince, and son effectively-something very highly valued by the Greeks. This is shown in the scene in book 6 where Hector reaches for his son, but he turns away in fear of his father’s shining armor and tall imposing helmet. Hector simply laughs, being capable of “turning off” his killer warrior instincts, he sets his shining helmet on the ground and takes his role as a father/husband. He is ideal because of his emotional/mental stability, and ability to respond to the emotional state of his son Austinax and be kind to the women of Troy (Helen, Andromache) giving them tasks to attend to instead of worrying. He also has a sense of honor for his parents and his city that persuades him to continue to fight. He is not willing to shame his city.

CD: _____ / 10 CM: ______ / 10 ______ / 20 total

In The Iliad Hector was looked at as being a perfect man. He could go off to war but then come home and be a father and husband. He was the best warrior the Greeks had and was also a loving husband and father. Hector chose to be remembered rather than live a long happy life with his family. I don’t think he should have fought Achilles because he caused his wife, mother, father, and state so much grief. He was the ideal man because it is very hard to come back from war and be normal, even today.

CD: _____ / 10 CM: ______ / 10 ______ / 20 total

In the Iliad, the character Achilles is an ideal epic hero because he possesses a tragic flaw and changes over time. After his little brother's wife, Helen, is taken back to Troy by Paris, Agamemnon invokes the Oath of Tyndareus and travels around Greece collecting other kings and warriors to fight Troy. A prophecy said Achilles would die if he fought in this war, so Achilles' mom helps him to dress like a girl to try to get out of the fighting. He is discovered and has to go. Later, Achilles is asked to give up his slave girl, Briseus, to Agamemnon. Agamemnon has to give his own slave, Chryseis, back to her Trojan dad to stop Apollo's plague, and demands Achilles' girl as recompense. Achilles is full of rage and stomps off the battlefield, refusing to fight alongside his countrymen. He even asks his mom to arrange for the enemy to win the war. Here, Achilles' flaw is hubris: he cares about his own ego and well-being more than the greater good of the Greek troops. Because Achilles is the strongest fighter, he knows he is needed in the war. He knows many of his fellow Greek soldiers will die without him at their side. It is also not good that Achilles is more concerned about "one-upping" Agamemnon and protecting his pride in the moment than about his honor (time) and glory in the future. Because gifts represent the honor and glory one has earned, Achilles only cares about being humiliated and keeping his war booty. If Achilles fights bravely for his people, in spite of losing Bryseis, he would fulfill the Greek value of time. But, he lets his emotions get the best of him, which shows he is flawed, like the rest of us. Later, when his best friend Patroclus is killed in battle, Achilles comes back to the battlefield full of rage and desecrates and humiliates Hector's body. This is the first step in Achilles' journey back to regaining honor, since he is willing to fight, but he still does it for personal and emotional reasons rather than high ideals. When Hector's dad, Priam, begs for his son's body back, Achilles' heart is touched again, and he sees his great, honorable father in Priam. Both men, enemies, weep together. There is honor in the way Achilles treats Priam with respect, telling him to get up from his kneeling position on the ground and returning Hector's body. The Greeks seem to appreciate Achilles' abilities as a vicious warrior, but also his newfound capacity to see the humanity in others. The Greeks seem to value empathy and the ability to see others' points of view, since Achilles is described in more respectful terms when he develops both (and Hector, who has both, is seemingly a perfect man). In the larger sense, Achilles is an ideal epic because he is flawed and suffers for his flaws. He also eventually "grows up" and chooses rightly, by Greek standards. He sacrifices everything, including his own life, for glory.

CD: _____ / 10 CM: ______ / 10 ______ / 20 total

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