Achilles Essay Outline

Below you will find five outstanding thesis statements for The Iliad by Homer that can be used as essay starters or paper topics. All five incorporate at least one of the themes found in The Iliad and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. These thesis statements offer a short summary of The Iliad by Homer in terms of different elements that could be important in an essay. You are, of course, free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot or themes to them for your essay. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from The Iliad at the bottom of the page, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay.

Be sure to also look at the PaperStarter entry on The Odyssey, also by Homer.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1: The Justification and Glorification of War in The Iliad

The backdrop and crux of action in The Iliad is war. In a sense, it seems as if Homer is glorifying war in “The Iliad” by focusing so much on it and by elevating certain fighters as heroes while minimizing losses and tragedies. Even the gods are not equal to one another in this time of war. While some gods are praised for their valor, others are criticized for their passivity and pacific preferences. By examining the attitudes toward war in The Iliad, the writer makes a case for situations in which war might be justified according to Homer.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2: The Vice of Pride in The Iliad by Homer

Often, what makes a tale engaging is not a character who is admirable and good, but one who is profoundly flawed. It is through such a flaw or an irremediable vice that the reader begins to understand the nature of the human condition. One of the character flaws that is prominent in The Iliad is the vice of pride. Achilles, suffering from a profound and persistent bout of hubris, is so filled with pride that he makes decisions that are literally fatal for one of his dear friends. In this essay, the problems of pride are examined, and the degree to which Achilles overcomes this vice is analyzed.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3: The Role of Women in The Iliad

In many ways, the setting and the action of The Iliad seems like a man’s world. There are very few mortal females who play important roles in the epic. The female gods, however, seem to be more powerful than their male counterparts. By comparing and contrasting the roles of female mortals and female gods in The Iliad, we can develop an idea of what Homer considered the proper place for women during a time of war. Although we may find his ideas outdated today, they were entirely reflective of his own historical and social epoch.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #4: Supernatural Superstition in The Iliad by Homer

The roles that the gods play in The Iliad are central to the development and denouement of the plot. In a time of war, the gods seem to be more important than ever. They intercede on behalf of mortals and are rarely, if ever, neutral. In fact, many of the gods take sides in the war due to past slights and grudges that they harbor against certain mortal groups. In this paper, the writer will examine the different roles that the gods play in The Iliad, and the different meanings that they hold for the mortal characters.

Thesis Statement 5: Achilles as a Likeable Character

Because Achilles is so prideful, his decisions end up hurting other characters, even mortally so. His decision to permit Patroclus to go to battle in his own armor, for instance, results in Patroclus’s death. Despite his character flaw, Achilles is ultimately a likeable character. The reader is able to feel empathy for Achilles. Pride, after all, is not so uncommon a flaw as to be unfamiliar to the reader, and we have all made mistakes—even drastic ones—that we regret yet have difficulty admitting.

A few articles that are related to the thesis statements and important quotes from “The Iliad” by Homer listed here include: Masculinity and the Warrior Culture of The IliadThe Theme of Father Son Relationships in The Iliad and The OdysseyCharacter and Divine Influence in The Aeneid and Iliad


This list of important quotations from The Iliad by Homer will help you work with the essay topics and thesis statements above by allowing you to support your claims. All of the important quotes from The Iliad listed here correspond, at least in some way, to the paper topics above and by themselves can give you great ideas for an essay by offering quotes and explanations about other themes, symbols, imagery, and motifs than those already mentioned and explained. Aside from the thesis statements above, these quotes alone can act as essay questions or study questions as they are all relevant to the text in an important way. All quotes contain page numbers as well. Look at the bottom of the page to identify which edition of The Iliad they are referring to.

“I tried to dissuade you, but you gave in to your pride and dishonored a great man whom the immortals esteem." (Book 9, ll. 113-115)

“[S]ince I did succumb to a fit of madness, I want to make substantial amends." (Book 9, ll. 124-125)

“I hereby announce my reparations: …ten gold bars…,a dozen… Solid, prizewinning racehorses who have won me a small fortune, and seven women who do impeccable work…." (Book 9, ll. 126-131)

“Father Zeus, if I have ever helped you in word or deed among the immortals, grant me this prayer…." (Book 1, ll. 533-535)

“[W]e two, Pallas Athena and I, have taken oaths among all the immortals never to ward off doom for the Trojans, not even when the whole city goes up in flames…." (Book 20, ll. 319-322)

“You actually like fighting and war…." (Book 1, l. 187)

“[In this war,] there is no end in sight, nor has there ever been." (Book 1, l. 133)

“Think of yourself, of the regret you will feel for harm that is irreparable. This is the last chance to save your countrymen." (Book 9, ll. 252-254)

“His heart still hoped to win glory…." (Book 12, l. 428)

“Zeus and all gods: grant that this my son may become, as I am, foremost among Trojans, brave and strong…." (Book 6, ll. 500-502)

Be sure to also look at the PaperStarter entry on The Odyssey, also by Homer.

Reference: Homer. The Iliad. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1997.

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Achilles: A Classical Hero Essay example

1091 Words5 Pages

Across the world, ordinary people find heroes that they aspire to imitate. Comic books portray heroes as super strong men in spandex suits, and although a three-year-old child might aspire to be superman, more mature audiences hopefully find more realistic figures to idolize. Take Barack Obama, the President of the United States; he worked his entire life to attain the highest position in our government, President. Obama was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth but to a single mother in Hawaii. Through hard work and motivation, he went to college and received an education at Columbia University. He later obtained a law degree from Harvard University and began working with the Democratic Party. In 1996 he was elected to the Illinois…show more content…

In order to determine whom the true hero is, a basic understanding of the term is necessary. The Greeks believed that their epic heroes bear certain qualities that represent their value of arête, or the use of values to be the best possible. They usually are stronger, smarter, and braver than a normal men and sometimes are sons of gods or of kings. A Greek hero’s birth can be somewhat abnormal and they are usually on a quest to contribute greatly to their people.
Today, some of the Greek’s values are still applicable, but as culture has evolved so has society’s outlook on heroes. A Modern day hero is not usually royal or an offspring of a god, and he may not be as physically robust as the Greek warriors, but he still must be superior in character, motivation, intelligence, and altruism to be admired. Modern heroes are characters that are uncompromising in their beliefs, motivated to make a difference in humanity, certain of their actions, and unmoved by detriments to their character. Modern heroes are people like Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Susan B. Anthony; they all are ordinary on the exterior, but their actions and insight changed the modern world forever. A modern interpretation of heroism cannot always relate to characters created almost 3000 years ago, so a hybrid of the ancient and modern values is necessary in order to be applicable to an ancient character. A character from ancient

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