Directions: After reading books I and XVIII, post a response to at least one of the questions/prompts for The Iliad. If you notice that all of the questions/prompts have been adequately answered (an

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Directions:  After reading books I and XVIII, post a response to at least one of the questions/prompts for The Iliad.  If you notice that all of the questions/prompts have been adequately answered (and you don’t believe that you can add anything other than “I agree…”), feel free to create a prompt/thread of your own. I am happy to help as well (by posting additional prompts/questions, should the need arise).  In keeping with the idea that this is a discussion board, please engage other students in class (in a positive manner).  The idea behind discussion after all is not simply to air ideas, but also to discover whether the ideas have merit (or not) and to figure out how to refine them in order to improve the ideas.

Grading:  To receive a 100 on this assignment, you need to post a response to both questions/prompts and the posts of others which moves the discussion forward.  Simple “I agree with so and so” posts will only receive partial credit.  Editing your responses prior to posting is also helpful (to your grade).

Prompts:

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  • Book I: The proem (prelude of sorts) consists of the first 8 lines. It is a masterpiece of poetic compression; every word counts. What does evoking the Muse entail? What is the epic about? What thematic concerns are introduced?
  • Book I: As you read, you’ll no doubt notice the use of epithets (or verbal formulas, such as “ the distant deadly Archer” for Apollo). Such epithets function as a tool for the oral composer, but they are also descriptive. Look for a few in the readings and discuss what they reveal about the character they describe.
  • Book I: Study the words and actions of Agamemnon carefully (beginning around line 29). What is the basis of his authority?
  • Book I: Achilles calls an assembly (around line 62). What is his function in society? Is he usurping Agamemnon’s authority? What motivates him here?
  • Book I: Around line 100, note how Agamemnon and Achilles bait each other. Note how they talk about women. With which combatant do you side? Does either have justice on his side? Why is Briseis important?
  • Book I: Note the way Homer describes Achilles’ inner conflict (around line 222). What kind of psychology is this? Athena intervenes. Why? Note how she restrains him. Why does he obey her? Achilles swears by a scepter that he will not fight again; why does he compare himself to the scepter?
  • Books I and XVIII: How does Homer characterize Thetis? What type of goddess is she? What type of mother is she?  What might she reveal about the role of women in Greek society?
  • Book XVIII: What is Achilles’s fate? Is he prepared for this fate?  What motivates him at this point in the epic?
  • Book XVIII: How does Homer characterize Achilles early in this book? Does this characterization change your view of his character?
  • Book XVIII: How does Achilles recover the body of Patroclus? What might this recovery reveal about Achilles and about Greek society (think about the importance of burial rites)?
  • Book XVIII: What is the reaction of the Trojans (and Hector) to the reappearance of Achilles following the death of Patroclus?
  • Book XVIII: From where does Achilles get a new shield?  Describe the shield. Why might Homer have depicted the shield in such detail (what might he be saying through the shield about Greek society?)?

Note: Once you look over these notes, click on “Reply” to begin constructing your post. Just as you did for the previous discussion board assignment, begin your post with the correct MLA style heading, and include a title, as in:

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