Thematic Essay

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English 9 Pre-Diploma

• In-class essay next block
– Tuesday/Wednesday, February 14/15

Achilles and Hector’s Outlook on: • War • Duty • Heroism (#3 on page 380)

Three-Column Chart
War Duty Heroism For homework, you must find textual evidence that supports each character’s outlook on the three topics.

Achilles’ Outlook

Hector’s Outlook

• Believes that heroism is symbolized by tangible prizes • Experiences internal conflicts about the purpose and validity of war • Does not believe that duty constrains him to fight at the expense of honor Find the textual evidence for each explanation in Books 1 and 6.

• Fights, even though he may be doomed to defeat • Consists of intangible loyalty to family and city as well martial valor • Directly threatens his city Find the textual evidence for each explanation in Books 1 and 6.

• The dual theme of honor and dishonor runs through Books 1 and 6 of the Iliad. • Examples: – Agamemnon feels dishonored by having to give up Chryseis, and he takes Briseis from Achilles to restore his honor. Achilles, in turn, feels his honor has been compromised by the loss of Briseis. – Hector ignores Andromache’s pleas to stop fighting because he believes he must defend the honor of Troy and thereby defend his honor as a warrior.

Create a three-column chart:
Agamemnon Achilles Hector

Example of Honor or Dishonor



• Example: Agamemnon believes himself dishonored by Apollo’s demand that he give up Chryseis. • Explanation: As a major Greek warrior, he no doubt believes himself entitled to the spoils of war, even the human spoils.

• Example: Achilles believes himself dishonored by Agamemnon’s taking of Briseis. • Explanation: Briseis has been promised to Achilles as a reward for his wartime heroics.

• Example: Hector believes that he would be dishonored if he fails to live up to his commitment to defend Troy. • Explanation: As a great Trojan hero, he knows that he is honor bound not to shirk the duties of war even if it causes his wife heartache.

• Example: Andromache feels dishonored because Hector refuses to heed her plea that he refrain from any further fighting. • Explanation: Her sense of dishonor stems from her feeling that Hector places his military duty above his duty to her as a husband.

Literary Analysis: Theme
Overview • A central insight into life • Revealed through story events, character, and details Themes in the Iliad • The role of fate in human affairs • The destructive effects of anger • The violence of war • The importance of honor and courage • The unpredictable ways of the gods

Create a two-column chart. Identify three events in Books 1 and 6 that are connected to the theme of fate. Event How Event Connects to Theme





The Role of Fate in Human Affairs
Event 1. Agamemnon has refused to give up Chryseis. How Event Connects to Theme 1. By refusing to give up the daughter of the priest of Apollo, Agamemnon has provoked Apollo to punish the Greek troops with a plague.

The Role of Fate in Human Affairs
Event 2. Agamemnon takes Briseis away from Achilles as compensation for his loss of Chryseis. How Event Connects to Theme 2. By angering Achilles, Agamemnon once again brings a dire fate on his troops. Achilles, the Greeks’ most capable warrior, withdraws from battle, ensuring further military reverses for the Greek warriors.

The Role of Fate in Human Affairs
Event 3. Hector ignores Andromache’s pleas that he stop fighting and return home to her. How Event Connects to Theme 3. By ignoring his wife’s pleas, Hector ensures his death on the battle field at the hands of Achilles.

Structuring a Thematic Analysis Essay
I. Introduction A. Begin with an interesting statement (no questions). You may begin with an explanation of the theme. Do not use dictionary definitions. B. Briefly summarize...
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