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Reading comprehension questions from Homer’s Iliad

BOOK NINE – The Embassy to Achilles

  1. What vow did Zeus make to Agamemnon? How did the god indicate his vow?
  2. What is Achilles doing when Ajax and Odysseus find him?
  3. What offer does Agamemnon make to Achilles? What does Odysseus add to help persuade Achilles to rejoin the war?
  4. How does Ajax feel about Achilles refusal?
  5. How does Achilles feel about Breseis? Who does he compare?
  6. How does Achilles respond to the offer of marrying Agamemnon’s daughter?
  7. What is the prophecy given to Achilles by his mother? What are the “two fates”?
  8. When does Achilles say he will renter the war? On what conditions?

BOOK SIXTEEN – Patroclus Fights and Dies

  1. What is the state of the war when Patroclus comes to Achilles?
  2. What does Patroclus propose?
  3. What condition does Achilles give Patroclus? What is his reason?
  4. Does Zeus grant Achilles’ prayers?
  5. What stops Patroclus from taking Troy?
  6. Who does Patroclus credit with his defeat?

BOOK EIGHTEEN – The Shield of Achilles

  1. When does Achilles’ mother tell him he will die? How does Achilles respond?
  2. Why?
  3. How does Achilles feel about his own death?
  4. When will Achilles bury Patroclus?

BOOK NINETEEN – The Champion Arms for Battle

  1. What’s Achilles’ reason for calling a “halt” to his anger?
  2. What is Agamemnon’s excuse for seizing Briseis?
  3. Is Agamemnon telling the truth?
  4. How does Odysseus settle the matter between Achilles and Agamemnon?
  5. How does Achilles respond to Odysseus’ offer of a feast?
  6. Does Achilles acknowledge his role in the Acheans losses?
  7. What does he attribute the turning tide of war?
  8. What is Briseis’ reaction to Patroclus’ body?

BOOK TWENTY-TWO – The Death of Hector

  1. What offer does Hector make to Achilles before their battle? What is Achilles’ response? Why?
  2. Describe Hector’s thought process before he confronts Achilles.
  3. How does Athena persuade Hector to attack Achilles?
  4. What request does Hector make before he dies?
  5. What is his “curse”?
  6. What happens to Hector’s body?

BOOK TWENTY-FOUR – Achilles and Priam

  1. Can Achilles choose to break the laws of Zeus?
  2. How does Achilles treat Hector’s corpse?
  3. What is Zeus’ decree regarding Hector’s body?
  4. Is Achilles moved by Priam’s visit? Describe.


Last Updated on March 4, 2018

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