It all depends on how well you can make the case for the relevance of your passage.

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This will be a short exercise (~600 words) in which you answer an interpretive question about the Iliad by using specific textual evidence. Here are the steps for doing this assignment:
1. Choose one of the questions/prompts below. Copy the question/prompt as the title of your assignment.
2. Review the poem and choose a passage that is relevant to the chosen prompt. The length of the passage can vary widely. Note which passage you have chosen in your assignment.
o Note: While there are some passages of obvious importance, this doesn’t mean that there are “right” and “wrong” passages to choose. It all depends on how well you can make the case for the relevance of your passage. This is one way in which you can make the assignment easier or harder for yourself. For instance, if you are writing about honour or fame, it would be easy to use a passage talking about those concepts explicitly, but perhaps less easy if you choose a passage about feasting, although it may still be possible.
3. Respond to the question/prompt by using your chosen passage as evidence. What this means is that you should make sure that each of your arguments in response to the question is backed up by something from the passage.
4. You should show the connection between your argument and the textual evidence you are using either by directly quoting or by referencing the line number (potentially with a paraphrase). For example, if you are arguing that Achilles in book 1 respects the gods, you can back that up by quoting or referencing lines 216-8, in which Achilles immediately obeys Athena’s command to refrain from physically attacking Agamemnon.
5. Note that you can reference lines from the Iliad using a capital Roman numeral to indicate the book number, followed by line numbers, e.g.: “[quoted words from the poem]” (IX. 400-1). If you are using a translation that doesn’t have line numbers, you can find them on the Chicago Homer website (linked in Brightspace).
6. It’s almost always good to include at the end a summary statement that ties the arguments you’ve made back to the prompt or question, so it becomes obvious how you have directly addressed the prompt or answered the question.
List of prompts/questions:
– How does Achilles think about the connection between fame (kleos) and his life/death? Answer this question with references to one book, i.e., you don’t need to consider how his thinking changes across the poem.
– Choose a passage in which a hero thinks about what it means to be a good man, warrior, or leader. Which aspects do the speaker find to be important to be judged as “good”?
– Choose a passage in which a woman interacts with men. What does this passage show about the place and role of women in the Iliad?
– Choose a passage in which a hero explicitly ponders two or more choices and makes a decision between them. Which factors determine the hero’s decision?
– Why are the gods interested in the fate of mortals?
– Which is stronger: fate or the will of Zeus?
– Choose a passage in which a hero regrets an earlier action or decision. How does the hero respond to regret?
– Choose a passage in which the voice of the poet comes to the fore. What can we infer about the poet and the poetic tradition through this passage?
– (If you have another idea that you’d really like to write about, run it by me and we’ll work it out.)

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