Study Questions — Iliad (Books 9 & 19)
1. The embassy sent by Agamemnon to persuade Achilles is expected to be successful. What does its anticipated success tell us about the culture of Greece at this time? Did the embassy fail, or did it succeed? Explain.
2. Consider the way violence is described in the Iliad, and the way the characters respond to acts of violence. From what we have read, is violence accepted and supported in this culture, or is it opposed? Clearly some violence is permitted since these characters are engaged in a 10-year war, but is violence (and war) seen as a necessary evil, or as something glorious? Could it be both, or neither one? Explain.
3. When discussing Gilgamesh, much was made about the relationship and bond between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. This was definitely a central aspect of the epic. Do we see a similar connection between any of the characters here? In what ways are the friendships and rivalries among the men in the Iliad similar and/or different to those described in Gilgamesh? What might this tell us about the cultures these poems represent?
Word count should be no less than 200 and not more than 300 for all questions.