The Iliad by Homer

Performance Outcomes and Deliverables

Students perform close readings of the text for key words and phrases that reflect the author’s themes. They complete charts and writing assignments to understand characterization, the values of the Greeks, and the role of the gods. They also research, organize ideas, draw conclusions, and analyze the author’s point of view or bias. Lessons address literary concepts, including point of view, simile, metaphor, and imagery; examine rhetorical techniques; explore historical perspectives; and analyze differences in translations. Line numbers mentioned in the unit are cross-referenced to translations by Richmond Lattimore, Robert Fagles, Stanley Lombardo, and Robert Fitzgerald.

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Literary Form

World Poetry

21st-Century Skills

  • Collaboration
  • Critical thinking
  • Civic literacy
  • Leadership and responsibility

Overview

Arguably the greatest war story in Western literature, The Iliad describes a conflict that has drained both sides. Inside the walls of Troy, there is talk of sons and brothers who have already been cut down. Outside the walls, Achaeans speak of family members left behind. The epic poem raises issues that are still relevant today: the cost of pride, the desire to impress others with bravado, the brutal effects of war, and the tension between domestic ties and loyalties to others. The text lends itself to study of literary form and strategy as well as discussions of honor, fame, hospitality, familial love, and the role of women in a patriarchal society.