Book Club: The Iliad

Discussion Questions for the Iliad {Week One}

  • Do you feel that dishonouring someone close to a certain god (ex: Chryses and Apollon) can lead to dishonouring the god(s) involved?
  • Apollon is angry as he shoots arrows bearing a plague at the Greek warriors. Do you feel the Theoi can be angry for us? How do you view the gods’ relationship with humans?
  • Achilles announces that dreams come from the Theoi. Have you ever experienced a prophetic or important dream you believe was from the Theoi? How do you think this sort of dream can be put aside from others?
  • Agamemnon tries to make Achilles’s lack of action in the war a disgrace when he tells him he would be deserting to leave. How do you feel about this?
  • Read lines 255-256. What are your thoughts on this verse?
  • When Achilles draws his sword to smite Agamemnon, Athena is sent by Hera to tell him to calm himself. What do you think would have happened had he killed Agamemnon? What would Menelaus, Agamemnon’s brother, had done?
  • Have you ever experienced anything like Achilles when Athena came down to stop him? Has a god or goddess ever revealed themselves to you?
  • How does Nestor the wise friend of Agamemnon and Achilles exemplify Arête?
  • Was it fair to either Achilles or Briseis to take her? Should she have even been put in this situation? How could this have been avoided entirely?
  • When things went awry for the Achaens, they made a sacrifice to Apollon and brought Chryseis back to her father. Nowadays, what do you do to appease the gods when something like this happens?
  • Zeus bows his head to Thetis to promise Her that He would aid the Trojans for Achilles’s sake, until Agamemnon learned his lesson. Do you think this is a sacred thing that mortals can do? Should we adopt it, or leave it out of our promises? Was it something the ancients did?
  • Why do you think “Homer” portrays Hera in such a cruel, nagging light? Does it have anything to do with the time period’s view on women?
  • Do you feel Homer was ableist towards Hephaistos when they say He was laughed at for breathing heavily etc. as he was helping the gods and goddesses?

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