Mr. Rui Guimaraes
English 9 Honors
3rd Marking Period
Typed Essay Assignment on Characterization in Book 1 of Homer’s The Iliad
Pick one character from Book I of The Iliad and make an assessment about a particular characteristic that stands out about him or her. Characters that you might consider at this time are Agamemnon and Achilles, and even Zeus, Apollo, Thetis and Hera. However, the characters that I would prefer for you to analyze are either Achilles or Agamemnon.
Use your copy of The Iliad to find specific examples from the story that will help to develop your assessment. You do not need to quote but you must incorporate examples in order to convince me that your analysis is credible. Remember: what matters is that you explain your thesis, not that you provide many examples of that quality.
Characterization is the process by which the writer reveals the personality of a character. Characterization is revealed through direct characterization and indirect characterization.
Direct Characterization tells the audience what the personality of the character is.
Example: “The patient boy and quiet girl were both well mannered and did not disobey their mother.”
Explanation: The author is directly telling the audience the personality of these two children. The boy is “patient” and the girl is “quiet.”
Indirect Characterization shows things that reveal the personality of a character. There are five different methods of indirect characterization:
Speech: What does the character say? How does the character speak?
Thoughts: What is revealed through the character’s private thoughts and feelings?
Effect on others toward the character: What is revealed through the character’s effect on other people? How do other characters feel or behave in reaction to the character?
Actions: What does the character do? How does the character behave?
Looks: What does the character look like? How does the character dress
Homer’s Iliad is comprised of a world with the greatest heroes to ever engage in war. For nine long years, both the Achaeans and the Trojans have fought for both their own honor and for the honor of their country. However, whereas some characters are more positively characterized because of their brave and heroic actions, others are more selfish and seem only concerned with their own interests, foregoing their communal concerns. Patroclus is indirectly characterized as an unselfish and caring soldier who, unlike the proud Achilles, is concerned for the welfare of his fellow Achaean soldiers. Whereas Achilles is so consumed with his own anger and pride that he refuses to accept the many great gifts heaped upon him by Agamemnon, Patroclus is eager to engage in war and to save as many of lives as possible. When he sees Eurypylus injured, he is “moved at the sight” and “burst out in grief” because he recognizes that they are far from their homes and suffering in a terrible war (11.973-978). He then helps to clean Eurypylus’ wound, which further characterizes himself as a healer and caregiver. So intolerable is the death of his fellow Argives that he even later calls Achilles out on his selfishness and demands that he “send me into battle” (16.32-50). For all of these reasons, Patroclus is a far more likeable character than Achilles.
Homer’s Iliad is comprised of a world with the greatest heroes to ever engage in war. For nine long years, both the Achaeans and the Trojans have fought for both their own honor and for the honor of their country. However, whereas some characters are more positively characterized because of their brave and heroic actions, others are more selfish and seem only concerned with their own interests, foregoing their communal concerns. Achilles is indirectly characterized by Andromache as being a savage brute. He killed her seven brothers as well as her father all in a single day. He is also characterized as being savage through his own actions. When Agamemnon takes away his war prize, Achilles’ immediate reaction is to draw his blade and kill him. To be filled with rage is a normal inclination, but to kill someone shows the heart of a true savage.