Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic
MLA

Bibliography

Course Hero. "The Iliad Study Guide." Course Hero. 17 Aug. 2016. Web. 22 Sep. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Iliad/>.

In text

(Course Hero)

APA

Bibliography

Course Hero. (2016, August 17). The Iliad Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved September 22, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Iliad/

In text

(Course Hero, 2016)

Chicago

Bibliography

Course Hero. "The Iliad Study Guide." August 17, 2016. Accessed September 22, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Iliad/.

Footnote

Course Hero, "The Iliad Study Guide," August 17, 2016, accessed September 22, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Iliad/.

The Iliad | Character Analysis

Share
Share

Achilles

Achilles is the leader of the Myrmidons who fight on the side of the Achaeans (a collective term for the Greeks and their allies) against Troy. He is the son of Thetis, a sea goddess, and Peleus, a mortal. He is a pure warrior concerned with honor and glory—fierce and merciless in battle. His rage is born when Agamemnon replaces the loss of one of his prizes of war by seizing one of Achilles's prizes. Until Agamemnon apologizes, Achilles and his men will not fight for the Achaeans. He actually asks the gods to ensure Agamemnon and his forces, his own allies, experience defeat without him, resulting in much bloodshed. His sense of honor doesn't allow for any compromise, but the loss of a friend and the appeals of an enemy bring out his humanity in the end.

Hector

Whereas Achilles is a warrior and nothing else, Hector is more multifaceted. He is also a brave and fierce warrior, but as a prince of Troy, he is fighting for his city and family as much as for honor and glory. His interactions with his wife and son, as well as his brothers, demonstrate a strong sense of responsibility for protecting his city and the people in his family. Unfortunately, his duty to Troy gets overridden by his pride, leading him to foolishly face Achilles in a fight he cannot win.

Agamemnon

Agamemnon, a powerful and proud man, is the top commander of the Achaean army. He feels entitled to take whatever prizes and honors he wants without apology. When he tries this with Achilles, he incurs the great hero's rage, with dire consequences for the whole army. Even after he realizes the costs of his actions, he offers only reparations, not apologies. He is a good fighter, but his leadership style is harsh, and he shows no mercy to enemies. He has been promised victory at Troy, but he repeatedly has to be talked out of fleeing when the battle goes against the Achaeans. Agamemnon is often called "Atrides," meaning "son of Atreus" (as is his brother Menelaus).

Priam

King Priam presides over the city of Troy and daily life while his many sons fight off the attackers. He shows compassion and understanding to Helen although she brought ten years of war upon his city, and he reasons with his wife, Hecuba, in her distress. Unlike the warriors, he is not ruled by pride. He humbles himself to appeal to Achilles personally for the return of his son's body, an act that finally brings out Achilles's human side.

Thetis

Achilles's sea-goddess mother, Thetis, protects and advocates for him throughout the poem. She carries his angry wishes to Zeus and persuades him to grant them, setting up the many defeats that the Achaeans suffer through most of the poem. She also makes sure her son is protected, replacing his lost armor with a new set forged by a god. She is tortured throughout the poem by the knowledge that her son is fated to die.

Paris

Paris (also called Alexander in some translations) committed a daring act in stealing Helen away from Menelaus, but he is more a lover than a fighter at heart. He can be roused to honorable combat, but he is not terribly effective at it and often prefers to stay in his rooms with Helen. In contrast to Helen, who deeply regrets the consequences of her actions, Paris doesn't seem to feel much responsibility for the ten years of war he has brought upon his city. However, his status as a prince and the favor of the goddess Aphrodite make him one of the heroes of Troy. (After the end of The Iliad, he is the one who kills Achilles.)

Patroclus

Although Achilles is his king and commander, Patroclus is older and wiser. They were raised together, making them nearly brothers. Patroclus is much more compassionate than Achilles, and he feels the suffering of their fellow Achaeans. When he tries to temper the effects of his friend's immovable rage, he succeeds only in bringing about his own tragic death. Patroclus seems to attract great loyalty and love from others. The bond between Achilles and Patroclus is very close—as close as self and shadow. Likewise, Briseis laments the death of Patroclus nearly on the scale of a bereaved wife (Book 19).

Questions for Characters

View all
in this article there are few storie. however, the stories are "Apollo and Hyacinthus" and "Pygmalion". there 2 question for those stories https://drive.google.com/uc?export=download&id=0B-qLCaCvHioLb
Chapter summaries for the book, "lies my teacher told me"?
Please read the Lamentation Lecture (and see an example of a lamentation) before proceeding. Review For this inspiration, you will be learning about lamentations (which are really a poetic form of com
Aristotle once said that "the man who is incapable of working in common, or who in his self-sufficiency has no need of others, is no part of the community, like a beast or a god." The conduct of Achil
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about The Iliad? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!