ILIAD CONTEXT QUESTIONS

1.
So he spoke with the tears falling, and his honoured mother heard him, where she sat by the side of her old father in the depths of the sea. Quickly she rose up from the grey sea like a mist, and sat down in front of him as he wept, and stroked him with her hand, and spoke to him, saying: "Child, why are you crying? What pain has touched your heart? Tell me, do not hide it inside you so that both of us can know".

(i) What is special about the relationship of the two characters who meet here? (3)
(ii) What has caused the pain to which the speaker refers? (4)
(iii) What is the response to the mother's question, and what action does she take? (4)
(iv) To what extent is the role of a go between important in order to forward, retard or explain the plot of the lliad? Refer to other examples in the books set for study in your answer (14)

2.
Then Atreus' son Menelaos rose to his cast, making a prayer to father Zeus: "Zeus, lord, grant me vengeance on the man who did me first wrong, god like Alexandros, and bring him low under my hands, so that even among generations yet to be born a man may shrink from doing wrong to a host who gives him hospitality."

(i) Why does the speaker pray for vengeance? (4)
(ii) What is the result of the duel between the two men? (4)
(iii) What convention of composition makes it possible for the speaker to refer to his enemy as 'godlike'? (2)
(iv) The speaker refers to one particular facet of the Heroic code. To what extent does the breaking or keeping of this code influence the events of the lliad? (15)

3.
But Helen spoke softly to him: "My brother brother of the bitch, the scheming horrible creature that I am! How I wish that on that first day when my mother bore me some vile storm wind had taken me and whirled me up to the mountains or into the swell of the sounding sea, where the waves would have washed me away before all this could happen. But since the gods have decreed that these miseries must be so, then I wish I had been the wife of a better man than this, one who had sense for men's outrage and all the shaming things they say".

(i) At what point in the plot of the lliad are these words spoken, and to whom? (3)
(ii) What picture of Helen are we given here? Is it borne out by her other appearances in the lliad? (4)
(iii) Is her comment on her husband fair, given his part in the lliad itself? (4)
(iv) How important are the women characters in the lliad? (14)

4.
My mother, the silver footed goddess Thetis, says that I have two fates that could carry me to the end of death. If I but stay here and fight on round the Trojans' city then gone is my home coming, but my glory will never die; and if I come back to my dear native land. then gone is my great glory, but my life will stretch long and the end of death will not overtake me quickly".

(i) When and by whom are these words spoken, and in response to what appeal? (4)
(ii) Describe the way the speaker's way of thinking changes as this episode develops. (6)
(iii) The speaker mentions a choice of two fates. How far are men in the lliad depicted as free to choose their destiny, and how far is their lot predestined? (15)

5.
Then swift Iris with feet quick as the wind said to him: "Yes, we know too that your glorious armour is in enemy hands. But go to the ditch as you are and show yourself to the Trojans, so that they might be terrified at the sight of you and hold off their fighting, and the warrior sons of the Achaeans gain relief in their weariness there is little respite in war".

(i) What is the immediate result of Iris' command here? (4)
(ii) To what extent are the mortals in the lliad advised and/or helped by the immortals? (12)
(iii) What in your opinion is the significance of the description of the new shield of Achilles? (9)

6.
Then Agamemnon, king of men, answered him: "Son of Laertes, I welcome what you have said; you have dealt completely and properly with every aspect. I am willing to take the oath you ask, and my heart urges me to take it. I shall not swear falsely before the god".

(i) What is the oath Agamemnon is willing to take, and why is it so important? (3)
(ii) What is it that the son of Laertes has dealt so completely and properly with? (3)
(iii) How typical of Agamemnon are the sentiments he expresses here? (8)
(iv) The 'son of Laertes' is often described as resourceful in the lliad. From the books you have studied, how far is this description justified both in action and in council or counsel? (11 )

7.
Then great Hector of the glittering helmet said to her: "Deiphobos, you have always been the brother I loved far the most of all the sons born to Hecabe and Priam. And now my heart is minded to honour you yet more highly, since you have had the courage, when your eyes saw my trouble, to come outside the wall on my account, while all the others stay inside".

(i) What is the deception played on Hector here? (4)
(ii) Why is this deception important to the final downfall of Hector? (5)
(iii) What other instance of divine impersonation of a mortal leads to similar crisis? (3)
(iv) The minor divinities take sides in the Iliad, but Zeus shows pity and is impartial. Refer to three incidents in the books you have studied, including this one, where this is the case. (13) ,

8.
Then swift-footed .Achilleus scowled at him and said: "Do not now provoke me more, old man. It is already my own mind to release Hektor to you - a message has come to me from Zeus, brought by: the mother who bore me, the daughter of the old man of the sea. And what is more, you do not deceive me, Priam. I have the wit to see that one of the gods brought you to the fast ships of the Achaeans. No mortal man - even with the strength of youth -would dare to come here into the camp; and he could not get past the guards, or easily push back the belt across our gates".

(i) What was the message from Zeus brought to Achilleus? (2)
(ii) What has Priam said that has provoked a mixture of emotions in Achilleus? (4)
(iii) How in fact did Priam make his way into the camp of the Achaeans? (3)
(iv) Is the character of Achilleus as presented here and in the rest of this section of the Iliad consistent with what we know of him earlier? (6)
(v) How do the events of the last book of the Iliad turn a work celebrating the epic deeds of heroes into a human tragedy? (10)

9.
It was in this cup that the woman, beautiful as the goddesses, mixed them their drink out of Pramnian wine, over which she grated goats' cheese on a bronze grater and sprinkled white barley; and when the toddy was prepared, she told them to drink. Now when both had drunk and quenched their thirst and were enjoying the pleasure of their conversation, Patroclus came and stood in the doorway, a godlike man. Seeing him, the old man rose from his shiny chair, and led him in by the hand.

(i) What circumstances have brought Patroclus to this place? (4)
(ii) How typical are such pictures of domestic non-military life in the Iliad? (5)
(iii) What are the consequences of this meeting between Patroclus and the old man? (4)
(iv) "Crucial events in the Iliad are often signalled or accompanied by feasting or the sharing of hospitality". Do you agree? (12)

10.
So he spoke in prayer, and Zeus the counsellor heard him. Half of the prayer he granted him, and half he refused. He granted that Patroclus should push the battle back from the ships, but refused his safe return from the fighting. Achilleus came out then and stood in front of his hut, his heart eager still to watch the grim combat of the Trojans and Achaeans.
(i) How effective are mortal prayers in the parts of the Iliad that you have studied? (3)
(ii) How does Patroclus' own attitude contribute to the non - granting of the second half of the prayer? (4)
(iii) What descriptive devices does Homer use to make the battle round the ships vivid for the listener/reader? (14)
(iv) How does Homer gradually transfer the emphasis on the glory of battle to the obligation of burial? (4)

11 .
When the warrior Menelaos saw him stepping out in front of the massed troops with long strides, he felt the joy of a lion that has come across a great carcass, an antlered stag or a wild goat he has found in his hunger; he eats it greedily, even though the running hounds and the strong young huntsmen try to drive him away. So Menelaos felt joy when his eyes saw godlike Alexandros. He thought he could take his vengeance on the culprit, and he immediately jumped to the ground from his chariot with all his armour.

(i) At what point in the story does this incident take place? (3)
(ii) How typical of a Homeric simile is the one used here? How appropriate is it to the circumstances?
(iii) What is the reaction of Alexandros to Menelaos' appearance here? What is the result of his conversation with his brother Hector? (6)
(iv) Explain the wrong done by the "culprit" and the reason why an act of violent vengeance was considered acceptable by the Achaeans. (12)

12.
He stroked her with his hand, and spoke to her saying: "Poor wife, please do not let your heart be too distressed. No man will send me down to Hades before my fated time - and fate I tell you, is something no man is ever freed from, whether brave man or coward, from the first moment of his birth. No, go back to the house and see to your own work, the loom and the distaff, and tell your maids to set about their tasks. War will be the men's concern, all the men whose homeland is Ilios, and mine above all".

(i) Who is speaking and to whom? When does this scene occur? (3)
(ii) What is the part played by fate in the Iliad? (10)
(iii) What attitude towards love, romance, marriage and the role of women in society is demonstrated in the Iliad as a whole? (12)

13.
When he had given his heart full pleasure in looking at the beautiful work, he spoke to his mother with winged words: "Mother, the god has given me armour which is truly the work that immortals would make -no mortal man could have created it. So now I shall arm myself for battle. But I am terribly afraid for the brave son of Menoitios during this time - flies may crawl into the wounds cut in him by the bronze and breed worms there to foul his body, now that the life is killed from him, and so all his flesh will rot".

(i) Why has the speaker been given this new and special armour? (3)
(ii) What was so remarkable about the shield? (5)
(iii) What evidence of the techniques of oral composition is there in this passage? (3)
(iv) Account for the words of concern about the state of the corpse here. (5)
(v) What happens before the speaker actually does arm himself? Why are these events important .for the plot? (9)

14.
Then swift-footed Achilles scowled at him and said: "Do not provoke me more, old man. It is already my own mind to release Hektor to you - a message has come to me from Zeus, brought by my mother who bore me, the daughter of the old man of the sea. And what is more, you do not deceive me, Priam. I have the wit to see that one of the gods brought you to the fast ships of the Achaians ....... So do not stir my heart any further in its grief, or I may not spare you either in my hut, old man, suppliant though you are -and so offend against Zeus' command".

(i) What has caused Achilles to speak in this way to Priam? (2)
(ii) How had Priam been guided to Achilles' hut? (4)
(iii) How does Achilles' treatment of a suppliant father compare with Agamemnon's in Book 1 ? (4)
(iv) Under normal circumstances Achilles acts rationally, but his temper and his pride are his undoing. Do you think this is a true estimate of his character? What light does this speech shed on his character? Has grief matured him? (15)

P. Wolstenholme