Book Report the Iliad and the Odyssey


Many speculations have been made on who is the official author of The Iliad and the Odyssey very little is known about their alleged author though. Most evidence points to Homer a greek poet. Little is known about homer himself due to how long ago in history and the time he lived and when he passed away. Little is known about Homer and many scholars question whether he existed at all.( What we do know of him is he he was blind and may have been from island of Chios he also played a major role in the shaping and storylines of The Iliad and the Odyssey and that it is probable that Homer lived in Ionia. Ionia is the central part of the western seaboard of Asia Minor. In the earliest known manuscripts, both The Iliad and The Odyssey are written in Ionic dialect. Many people say he really was a writer ahead of his time. The Odyssey and The Iliad influenced Greek culture, education, and morality.

While reading the Iliad, I could not find a specific purpose to the text. What it seemed like was it was written as a text book for back then but now a days it seems like something more for pleasure reading or entertainment. Homer does tell the story of the war between the Trojans and Greeks, but the main purpose of the text was simply just to put it on paper and to preserve the culture. The Odyssey focuses on life’s greater purpose through the fulfillment of destiny, perseverance, and loyalty.

So what exactly is The Iliad and the Odyssey about? These epic stories are about the Mycenaean or Bronze Age, ancient Greeks, who flourished from about 1600-1100 BC. This is roughly about the time Moses led the Israelites from Egypt through the time David ruled a united Jewish nation; by most accounts, Moses led the Jews out of Egypt and Troy fell somewhere around 1300-1200 BCE.

Concerned for his comrades but still too proud to help them himself, Achilles agrees to a plan proposed by Nestor that will allow his beloved friend Patroclus to take his place in battle, wearing his armor. Patroclus is a fine warrior, and his presence on the battlefield helps the Achaeans push the Trojans away from the ships and back to the city walls. But the counterattack soon falters. Apollo knocks Patroclus’s armor to the ground, and Hector slays him. Fighting then breaks out as both sides try to lay claim to the body and armor. Hector ends up with the armor, but the Achaeans, thanks to a courageous effort by Menelaus and others, manage to bring the body back to their camp. When Achilles discovers that Hector has killed Patroclus, he fills with such grief and rage that he agrees to reconcile with Agamemnon and rejoin the battle. Thetis goes to Mount Olympus and persuades the god Hephaestus to forge Achilles a new suit of armor, which she presents to him the next morning. Achilles then rides out to battle at the head of the Achaean army.

Meanwhile, Hector, not expecting Achilles to rejoin the battle, has ordered his men to camp outside the walls of Troy. But when the Trojan army glimpses Achilles, it flees in terror back behind the city walls. Achilles cuts down every Trojan he sees. Strengthened by his rage, he even fights the god of the river Xanthus, who is angered that Achilles has caused so many corpses to fall into his streams. Finally, Achilles confronts Hector outside the walls of Troy. Ashamed at the poor advice that he gave his comrades, Hector refuses to flee inside the city with them. Achilles chases him around the city’s periphery three times, but the goddess Athena finally tricks Hector into turning around and fighting Achilles. In a dramatic duel, Achilles kills Hector. He then lashes the body to the back of his chariot and drags it across the battlefield to the Achaean camp. Upon Achilles’ arrival, the triumphant Achaeans celebrate Patroclus’s funeral with a long series of athletic games in his honor. Each day for the next nine days, Achilles drags Hector’s body in circles around Patroclus’s funeral bier.

At last, the gods agree that Hector deserves a proper burial. Zeus sends the god Hermes to escort King Priam, Hector’s father and the ruler of Troy, into the Achaean camp. Priam tearfully pleads with Achilles to take pity on a father bereft of his son and return Hector’s body. He invokes the memory of Achilles’ own father, Peleus. Deeply moved, Achilles finally relents and returns Hector’s corpse to the Trojans. Both sides agree to a temporary truce, and Hector receives a hero’s funeral.(Pg.685)

These are the references I used in my book report about The Iliad and the Odyssey.

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