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Reading Comprehension Questions

Reading Comprehension QuestionsThese questions are for study-practice only, they are not an
assignment. Test questions will be based on these questions, along with the major plot points in
the poem.
Book I
Why did Apollo send deadly arrows against the Achaeans?

What does Agamemnon do to Achilles that causes his great anger?


How does Achilles respond to Agamemnons insult?

Book II
What is Zeus message (in Agamemnons dream), and can it be trusted?

How does Agamemnon test the warriors?


Do the warriors pass the test?

Book III
Where is the duel fought?

Who has the upper hand in the fighting?


How does the duel end and who is declared the winner?

Book IV
Who decides to break the truce between the Trojans and Achaeans?

How is the truce broken?

Book V
How is Diomedes like Achilles?

How are they different?

Book VI
Why Does Menelaus pause before killing Adrestos and does he spare him?

What is Nestors advice to the Achaeans?


Why does Andromache plead with Hector not to return to battle?

Book VII
Who volunteers (both Greek and Trojan) to settle the war with a duel? What happens?

Why is it important that the warriors want to bury the dead?

Why does Zeus warn the gods to stay out of the conflict?

Which two goddesses attempt to ride into the battle to help the Achaeans and what is the

Book IX
What does Agamemnon offer to give Achilles?

How does Achilles react?

Book X
What do the Achaeans hope to gain by the mission to spy?

What is the result?

Book XI
What is Achilles attitude toward the events taking place?

What does Nestor ask Patroclus to do?

Book XII
What information do we learn in Book Twelve about the wars outcome?

What initial difficulty do the Trojans face in storming the Achaean wall?

How does Zeus appear to Great Ajax and Little Ajax (the Aeantes) and why does he
Book XIV
What is Agamemnons plan of action at the beginning of Book Fourteen?

What does Diomedes suggest they do instead? Why does he try to dissuade Agamemnon?

Book XV
What is Heras plan?

How successful is Heras plan?

Book XVI
What does Patroclus ask of Achilles and how does he respond?

When Hector and the Trojan army retreat, what happens to Patroclus?

How does Athena intervene to help Meneleus?
How does Achilles react to the news of the death of Patroclus?

What does Thetis tell Achilles about his fate?

Book XIX
Why does Achilles reconcile with Agamemnon?

What does Agamemnon offer Achilles?

Book XX
What warning does Apollo give Hector regarding Achilles?

Does he act accordingly?

Book XXI
What is the result of the duel between Aeneas and Achilles?

How devastating is Achilless attack on the Trojan army?

How does Hector die?

What does Achilles do to Hectors body?

Why does Achilles cut off his hair?

What is the significance of the act?

How does Priam move safely through the Achaean camp to Achilles?

What does Priam talk about that moves Achilles to tears?

Character Quotes
Part I: Find quotes that describe who that character is, what they do, what they believe, and
what they think. Also look for Epithets, or nicknames (i.e. Odysseus, the great tactician). Make
sure to provide page numbers for all quotes. You will not receive full credit if you do not cite
your source. Write the page numbers only in parenthesisfor example (123).
[This is an assignment.]


1. Achilles now like inhuman fire raging on through the mountain gorges
splinter-dry, setting ablaze big stands of timber, the wind swirling the huge
fireball left and right chaos of fire Achilles storming on with brandished
spear like a frenzied god of battle trampling all he killed (519)
2. But brilliant Achilles taunted Hectors body, dead as he was, Die, die!
For my own death, Ill meet it freely whenever Zeus and the other deathless
gods would like to bring it on! With that he wrenched his bronze spear from
the corpse, laid it aside and ripped the bloody armor off the back. (553)
3. Enough. Let bygones be bygones. Done is done. Despite my anguish I
will beat it down, the fury mounting inside me, down by force. Now, by god,
I call a halt to all my anger (490)
4. But the swift runner Achilles answered firmly, Phoenix, old father, bred
and loved by the gods, what do I need with honor such as that? I say my
honor lies in the great decree of Zeus. That gift will hold me here by the
beaked ships as long as the life breath remains inside my chest and my
springing knees will life me. (272)

Agamemno 1. But among them rose the fighting son of Atreus, lord of the far-flung
kingdoms, Agamemnonfurious, his dark heart filled to the brim, blazing
with anger now, his eyes like searing fire. (81)

2. Atreus son Agamemnon, for all his far-flung kingdoms the man
disgraces me, seizes and keeps my prize, he tears her away himself! (89)
3. But I am not to blame! Zeus and Fate and the Fury stalking through the
night, they are the ones who drove that savage madness in my heart, that day
in assembly, when I seized Achilles prizeon my own authority, true, but
what could I do? (491)
4.But King Agamemnon countered, Not so quickly, brave as you are,
godlike Achillestrying to cheat me! (81)


1. Agamemnons brother, Menelaus lord of the war cry led their sixty ships,
armed them apart, downshore, and amidst their ranks he marched, ablaze with
valor, priming men for attack. (118)
2. But Atreus son the fighting Menelaus marked it allthe Trojans killing
Patroclus there in the brutal carnageand crested now in his gleaming bronze
gear Atrides plowed through the front to stand astride the body, braced like a
mother cow lowing over a calf, her first-born, first labor-pangs shed felt
3. Antilochus you used to have good sense! Now see what youve done!
Disgraced my horsemanshipyouve fouled my horses, cutting before me,
you with your far slower team. (577)
4. And the same anguish shook Menelaus toono sleep could settle over his
eyes, not now. He feared his men might meet the worst at last, comrades who
crossed a waste of seas for him to raise Troy and mount their fierce assault


1. I will not think of arming for bloody war again, not till the son of wise
King Priam, dazzling Hector batters all the way to the Myrmidon ships and
shelters, slaughtering Argives, gutting the hulls with fire. (273)
2. Hector he duped me so so many mad, blind hopes! He swore hed
give me the great Achilles stallions, purebred racers, his burnished bronze
chariot too! (289)
3. So now, better by far for me to stand up to Achilles, kill him, come home
alive or die at his hands in glory out before the walls. (545)
4. All this weighs on my mind too, dear woman. But I would die of shame to
face the men of Troy and the Trojan women trailing their long robes if I
would shrink from battle now, a coward. (210)


1. Now closer, closing, front to front in the onset till Paris sprang from the
Trojan forward ranks, a challenger, lithe, magnificent as a god, the skin of a
leopard slung across his shoulders, a reflex bow at his back and battle-sword
at hip and brandishing two sharp spears tipped in bronze (129)
2. Magnificent Paris brought those women back himself from Sidon, sailing
the open seas on the same long voyage he swept Helen off, her famous
Fathers child. (205)
3. And Paris, magnificent as a god, replied, Ah Hector, you criticize me
fairly, yes, nothing unfair, beyond what I deserve. (130)
4. And it strikes me, even me, as the better way. Victory shifts, you know,
now one man, now another. So come, wait while I get this war-gear on, or
you go on ahead and I will followI think I can overtake you. (207)


1. But he quickly found one more, on the left flank of the heart-wrenching
carnageroyal Paris, fair-haired Helens consort was rousing comrades,
driving them back to battle. (366)
2. Her voice rang out in tears and an endless wall rose up and Helen, the
third in turn, led their songs of sorrow: Hector! Dearest to me of all my
husbands brothers my husband, Paris, magnificent as a god (613)
3. Maddening one, my Goddess, oh what now? Lusting to lure me to my
ruin yet again? Where will you drive me next? Off and away to other grand,
luxurious cities, out to Phrygia, out to Maeonias temping country? Have you
a favorite mortal man there too? (141)
4. I revere you so, dear father, dread you tooif only death had pleased me
then, grim death, that day I followed your son to Troy, forsaking my marriage
bed, my kinsmen and my child, my favorite, now full-grown, and the lovely
comradeship of women my own age. (134)

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Theme Quotes
Part II: Find quotes that provide evidence for the following themes: The importance of
duty and honor, The tragic effects of war, and The influence of divine
intervention. Write the page number in the parenthesis.
A theme is a running idea about a topic (i.e. Love conquers all, or The importance of family).

From Book I IV
Page (_____)
From Book V VIII
From Book IX XII

ce of
From Book XIII XVI
duty and


From Book XVII XX
From Book XXI XXIV
From Book I IV
effects of

Page (_____)

From Book V VIII


From Book IX XII

From Book XIII XVI

The tragic
effects of

From Book XVII XX

My dear comrades deadPatroclusthe man I loved beyond all other comrades,
loved as my own lifeIve lost himHectors killed him, stripped the gigantic
armor off his back, a marvel to behold my burnished gear!
From Book XXI XXIV
But I dear god, my life so cursed by fate I fathered hero sons in the wide
realm of Troy and now not a single one is left, I tell you. Fifty sons I had when
the sons of Achaea came Many, most of them violent Ares cut the knees from

From Book I IV
of divine
From Book V VIII

Page (_____)

From Book IX XII
From Book XIII XVI
From Book XVII XX
So he urged Athena already poised for action. Down the sky she swooped
through the clear bright air like a shrieking, sharp-winged hawk, and while
Achaeans quickly armed throughout the encampment, she instilled some nectar
and sweet ambrosia deep in Achilles chest so the stabbing pangs of hunger
could not sap his knees.

From Book XXI XXIV

So he threatened but the dogs were not about to feed on Hector. Aphrodite
daughter of Zeus beat off the packs, day and night, anointing Hectors body with
oil, ambrosial oil of roses, so Achilles could not rip the princes skin as he
dragged him back and forth.