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Title of Work: Homer, and Richmond Lattimore. The Iliad of Homer. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1951. Print.

Author Biography: Homer was a poet born in approximately 750 B.C. who was known for his epic poems. His exact lifetime remains in debate and most that is known about him comes from his work. From his work, it is known that he was from Smyrna, Greece. Traditionally, he is thought of as a traveling poet, going place to place reciting his epic poems and possibly blind. Homers poetic style has been described as having a consistent formula, almost always using recurring epithets, verses and phrases to repeat meanings. Literary Time Period: The Iliad by Homer reflects classicism through its universality, noble ideas, dignified language, and clarity. This epic poem exhibits universality because it is brimming with philosophical undertones, from morality and ethics to honor and virtue. It exhibits noble ideas through the hero figure represented by Achilles. Dignified language is expressed in the varied dialect in the poem. Lastly, clarity exists in Achilless quest for immortality. Historical Time Period: At the time that this epic poem was written, art and theatre were very essential parts of Grecian society. In this period, the Greeks were very proud of their religion and expressed their religion by creating plays and poems that spoke of gods and goddesses. Citizens were trained to support the arts and, just coming out of a dark age, peace. The influence of this time period is evident in Homers writing. For example, Homer uses the Iliad to inspire people to believe in gods and fear the gods wrath. Homers ideas of heroism and morality were also influenced by the time period. Major Characters: Achilles - chief warrior, leader of the Myrmidons and son of the Nereid Thetis; resourceful, trustworthy, and wrathful Odysseus - the lord of Ithaca, known for his cleverness Agamemnon - also called Atrides or son of Atreus; king of Mycenae and leader of the Greek armies; his wife is Clytemnestra Nestor - older warrior from Pylos, chief advisor of Greeks Calchas - seer or prophet who conceals the Greeks Helen - wife of Menelaus; her abduction by Paris started the Trojan War Menelaus - Agamemnon's brother and Helen's husband Patroclus friend of Achilles

Hector - son of Priam, chief Trojan warrior Aeneas - Trojan, a demi-god and son of Anchises and Aphrodite. Captain and warrior who fights bravely Minor Characters: Ajax Telamon - Greek leader from Salamis. Also known as Greater Ajax. Giant warrior who meets Hector's challenge Diomedes (also called Tydides) - The youngest of the Achaean commanders, Diomedes is bold and sometimes proves impetuous Priam - King of Troy and husband of Hecuba, Priam is the father of fifty Trojan warriors, including Hector and Paris; wise benevolent leader Paris - A son of Priam and Hecuba and brother of Hector. Pariss abduction of Helen, wife of Menelaus, sparked the Trojan War. Paris is self-centered and often unmanly. Phoenix - A kindly old warrior, Phoenix helped raise Achilles Chrysies - Trojan ally; Disputed war prize of Agamemnon Thetis Achilles mother Briseis Achilles war prize Plot Summary: The Achaean army sacks Chryse, a town allied with Troy. During the battle, the Achaeans capture a pair of maidens, Chryseis and Briseis. Agamemnon, the leader of the Achaean forces, takes Chryseis as his prize, and Achilles, claims Briseis. Chryseiss father, Chryses, who serves as a priest of the god Apollo, offers an enormous ransom in return for his daughter, but Agamemnon refuses to give Chryseis back. Chryses then prays to Apollo, who sends a plague upon the Achaean camp. After many Achaeans die, Agamemnon consults the prophet Calchas to determine the cause of the plague. When he learns that Chryseis is the cause, he reluctantly gives her up but then demands Briseis from Achilles as compensation. Furious at this insult, Achilles returns to his tent in the army camp and refuses to fight in the war any longer. He asks his mother to ask Zeus to help destroy the Achaeans. The Trojan and Achaean sides have declared a cease-fire with each other, but now the Trojans breach the treaty and Zeus comes to their aid. The Achaeans suffer great losses. Several days of conflict follow, including duels between Paris and Menelaus and between Hector and Ajax. The Trojans push the Achaeans back, forcing them to take refuge behind the ramparts that protect their ships. The Trojans break through the Achaean ramparts. Achilles agrees to a plan proposed by Nestor that will allow his beloved friend Patroclus to take his place in battle, wearing his armor, but is killed. When Achilles discovers that Hector has killed Patroclus, he fills with such grief and rage that he agrees to reconcile with Agamemnon and rejoin the battle. When the Trojan army glimpses Achilles, it

flees in terror back behind the city walls. Achilles cuts down every Trojan he sees and even fights the god of the river Xanthus. Finally, Achilles confronts Hector outside the walls of Troy. Achilles chases him around the citys periphery three times, but the goddess Athena finally tricks Hector into turning around and fighting Achilles. In a dramatic duel, Achilles kills Hector. He then lashes the body to the back of his chariot and drags it across the battlefield to the Achaean camp. Each day for the next nine days, Achilles drags Hectors body in circles around Patrocluss funeral bier.At last, the gods agree that Hector deserves a proper burial. Zeus sends the god Hermes to escort King Priam, Hectors father and the ruler of Troy, into the Achaean camp. Priam tearfully pleads with Achilles to return Hectors body. He reminds Achilles of own father and he finally concedes to return Hectors corpse to the Trojans. Both sides agree to a temporary truce, and Hector receives a heros funeral. Literary Devices: Flashback - In the Iliad, books 9 through 12 are told as flashbacks, as Odysseus sits in the palace of the Phaeacians telling the story of his wanderings. These books thus give background not only to Odysseuss audience but to Homers as well. Epithet Swift-footed Achilles This is one of the names given to Achilles that also serves as a characterizing phrase Personification In book 14, Sleep exclaims to Poseidon, "Now give them glory, if only a moments glory...." This acts as personification because sleep is an idea or object, not living. Hubris Achilles conveys hubris when he decides not to fight in the war even though he knows he can help a lot of people. His pride gets in the way of helping for a time. Themes: Military Glory over Family Life A theme in The Iliad is the predominance of military glory over family. The text clearly admires the bonds of deference and obligation that bind families together, but it respects much more highly the pursuit glory. Homer constantly forces his characters to choose between their loved ones and the quest for glory. For example, Hectors wife pleads with him not to risk orphaning his son, but Hector knows that fighting among the front ranks represents the only means of winning my father great glory. Achilles debates returning home to live in ease with his aging father, but he remains at Troy to win glory by killing Hector and avenging Patroclus. The characters prize so highly honor, noble bravery, and glory that they willingly sacrifice the chance to live a long life with those they love. The Glory of War The Iliad seems to celebrate war. Characters emerge as worthy or despicable based on their degree of competence and bravery in battle. Paris, for example, doesnt like to fight, and correspondingly receives the scorn of both his family and his lover. Achilles, on the other hand, wins eternal glory by rejecting a long, comfortable life at home. The text itself seems to support this means of judging character and extends it even to the gods. The Iliad doesnt ignore the realities of war. Men and women die and a plague breaks out in the Achaean camp, but Homer

never implies that the fight constitutes a waste of time or life. Rather, he portrays each side as having a reason to fight and depicts warfare as a respectable manner of settling the dispute. Critical Analysis: Citation - Zott, Lynn M. "Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism." Project Editoral 61 (2003): 1. Enotes.com. The Gale Group Inc., 5 Apr. 2004. Web. 25 Sept. 2012 Summary In this article, Zott praises the Iliad for begin one of best known literary works of the western world. The writer explores a different view on Homers writing style by referring to the Iliad as a novel that contrasts harsh suffering with moral and joyous ideals. Zott also expresses her appreciation toward Homers usage of philosophical reasoning and imagery throughout the epic poem. Quote Although Homer presents an extremely harsh world in which human beings appear destined to suffer as the mere playthings of the gods and fate, he simultaneously conveys the value of human ideals and the joy of pursuing heroic excellence. Explanation In this instance, the writer conveys one of Homers contrasting techniques. The quote encompasses one of the major themes in the epic poem, the glory of war. Although Homers work contains the will of the gods on numerous occasions, it also expresses the will of humans and the decisions that they make through Achilles actions and the family dynamics in the poem. Achilles strives to avenge his friend and achieve glory though his heroics. Final Thoughts: Personally, reading the Iliad affected the way I look at Ancient Greek culture. Before, I didnt know much about the culture of Greece besides the names of a few gods. Now, however, I understand the background behind such works as the Iliad. I understand why the Greeks thought the way they did when it came to mythology. In this century, it seems ridiculous to think that some people believed in mythological beings and creatures, but now knowing the background to it, I can better understand their positions. They were people who were coming out of a period of darkness and violence and were just trying to make sense of the world around them, resulting in the religion of gods and goddesses. They needed something to grasp onto.