To what extent does Aeneas deserve to be called the True (pius?)

1. define the "true"- ie. what is pietas.

i. obediance to the gods > awareness of their rnission for him, of his destiny.
ii. respect for civic values >

iii. Loyalty to his own kin, both dead and alive.
ie. pietas is a mixture of sense of duty, love of duty, and love of the three elements towards which pietas is directed -gods, community, family

2. give positive examples of these aspects of pietas:

3. furthermore note:
i. his willingness to give up personal feelings for his mission (Dido)
ii. his growing acceptance of his destiny (culminating in bk 6)

4. however there are lapses: the cost of pietas is heavy:
i. anguish at the loss of Troy, of Creusa, of Dido, even of Pallas.
ii. constant struggle to survive "the rancour" of heaven(ie Juno)
iii. rage and revenge among the frustrations he meets in Italy.

5. Conclusion: Aeneas is an imperfect hero; he is not always the "true". In bk 10 Aeneas the True is both a butcher and a broken-hearted killer(death of Lausus).

As far as his destiny is concerned he has remained true; but as a human being he still adheres to the heroic code rather than the more humane code of pietas.


"The benefits which Athens received from her Empire were much greater than the advantages to Sparta of her leadership of the Peloponnesian League." Discuss.

Peloponnesian League:

Advantages to Sparta:

Athenian Empire:


1. this is not the only possible conclusion!
2. you need to choose your own examples from the evidence to illustrate the above statements and comment on their relevance to statement and your arguments where appropriate

How far you you think that the "wrath" or "anger" of Achilles is the central subject of the lliad? Illustrate your answer by reference to the books of the poem you have read.

His wrath is the starting point:

it is the chief motivating action in the plot; from it spring not just the original quarrel, but enormous consequences for the Greeks, the Trojans, and for individuals on both sides-Hector and his family, Patroclos (who reveals himself to be someone different from whom we expected him to be) and for Agamemnon(whose authority is challenged) and perhaps most of all for Achilles himself >chain reaction

Thus we can see that the outburst of anger is the prelude to the revelation of Achilles' character and this temper is part of his character; it could be argued that it his character as a whole which is really the subject of the Iliad -the complex personality of Achilles

for example:

Above all he possesses the tragic "fatal flaw" - a pride and anger -hubris - which leads him from the solution of one rift to the death of his friend.

He is cruel, he is a killer, he is ruthless, yet he queries the code he lives by; for he is vulnerable and more aware than any of the other heroes that a short life, even with glory won in that lifetime, will leave his father bereaved; he knows, thanks to his relationship with his goddess mother, that he has a choice -short life and glory or long life and obscurity; he chooses and accepts a Heroic Fate, just as he accepts the role of the gods in human affairs.; he is the one character who develops in the course of the Iliad. Perhaps the most significant feature of his wrath is that in book I he fails completely to control it, but in book 24 he recognises the danger signals and does control it. He has learnt -at tremendous cost to himself and Priam, not to mention the dead on both sides, what his fatal flaw is.

So if we see the Iliad as a story about vengeance from various angles, there is no doubt that the anger of Achilles is the central subject for all major events in this episode in the Trojan war arise from it; but if we see it as a story which with blood and tears demonstrates the sadness of the lives of men "the pathos of the human condition", we shall have to allow that Achilles himself is the heart of the story, where the consequences spring from his charatcer not merely one aspect of it.

Discuss Homer's use of similes in the lliad.

1. Format of similes:

Subject matter of similes: from natural world and everyday experience such as audience was used to facing (eg. storms; flies round milk-pail)- something in common with people of the story?

2. Purpose of simile:

3. Similes occur in action books, not in dialogue or debate (note book 9); they are unusual in type in bk 24 where there is more visual description than elsewhere -is this significant?

4. Some recurring themes: lions on rampage; weather; fire and flood; does this suggest basic pattern with variants?

5.Thus we can see:

So can we conclude that:

"Patroclos and Achilles complement each other in character; each releases the hidden qualities of the other" Do you agree with this statement?

Patroclos: at first gives appearance of stereotype of gentle man:

Similarly Achilles gives appearance of stereotype of the proud and angry man:

Early impressions suggest that Patroclos is the restraining influence on Achilles: that he is Achilles' minder. It is only later that we are reminded of a less familiar part of the story -that Patroclos too has a history of violence.

Nestor reminisces in bk 11 and they produce some drastic changes in Patroclos:

Patroclos' pleas to Achilles (and his death later on) bring about changes in Achilles:

So we might argue that the actions of Achilles bring out the beast in the gentle Patroclos and the death of Patroclos brings out the humane in the violent Achilles. But Nestor, the elder statesman, is surely the catalyst?

Or are the characters developed to keep in step with the plot and the action, and the "switch" is purely coincidental? ie. once Achilles' anger is diverted from Agamemnon to Hector, from injured pride to vengeance for a loved companion, his character has to change?

"Judging from the books of the Iliad you have read, what seem to you to be the values and ideals most important in the poem? "

Starting point - Heroic code, but break it down into smaller elements: eg

All these could be said to be part of the code of behaviour expected in the warrior culture which existed when the oral tradition of epic poetry was in full flight - era of the strong man, the feudal system based on property, family and prowess. Life is short- enjoy it; mortal man is vulnerable

But Homer lived much later than the period he was writing about when war was not the aominant feature of most men's lives, but a seasonal or occasional evil, hence other values appear in the Iliad:

Thus the two set of values cross-fertilise each other - the result is an epic "blood and thunder" epic narrative which is also a tragedy.

Judging by the books of the lliad which you have read, to what extent do you consider it is a poem which glorifies war?

The plot -

The characters:

So war for them is the only way to live - the survivors, those who live to tell the tale, win honour.
Consider the words of Nestor (to Patroclos)

Homer in the course of telling the story refers to and describes:

How emphatically does Homer present these aspects of war?
What is the importance of the pictures on the shield - the life of the world, not the life of Heroes?
What is the importance of the reconciliation in bk 24 - Priam gets satisfaction, Achilles shows compassion, but it does not signal the end of fighting?
What is the importance of the words of Hector's family in bk 22. and of the women in bk 24?
Divine pity comes too late to save life - only "comforts" death
Which is the lasting impression - the glory of war, or the grief of war?
(Remember even in Homer's time, it was usual to settle disputes by fighting rather than diplomacy, though with less impetuosity than in feudal days)

P. Wolstenholme