Greek Mythology: The Iliad, Day 3

Goals for the Week:

  1. Understand the mythology of the Trojan War.
  2. Understand the plot and characters of Homer’s Iliad.
  3. Complete the Iliad Character Research Prompt.

Today’s Checklist:

  1. Understand Hector’s death in The Iliad
  2. Consider various interpretations of Hector’s death scene in various media.
  3. Prepare for tomorrow’s Zoom meeting!

Your assignment for this week!

This week you will:

Today’s Lesson!


  • ELAGSE9-10RL7 Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums (e.g., Auden’s poem “Musée de Beaux Arts” and Breughel’s painting Landscape with the Fall of Icarus), including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment.

Learning Target: 

I can consider various interpretations Hector’s death scene from The Iliad so that I can analyze the importance of his death and why some versions change specific details.


Take a look at this painting! Use the OPTIC chart below the painting to analyze what’s going on here. You can click on the picture to open it up full size.

Achilles Slays Hector by Peter Paul Rubens

Fill in this chart (recreate it on your own paper) with your observations:

Overview: What do you see in this picture? What is your overall impression?
Parts: What different parts of the picture do you see? Consider characters, foreground, background, frame, etc.
Title: What is the title of this painting? How does the title relate to what is going on in the painting?
Interrelationships: How do the parts and title relate to the overall picture? Why are some things in the background? Why is there an owl flying around?
Conclusions: What conclusions can you draw from this painting?

Work Session: 

First, let’s read the full text of Hector’s death scene from The Iliad. This is about 14 pages long (but some of the pages have big pictures, don’t panic!) so I’ll draw your attention to an important quote:

Don’t talk to me of pacts.
There are no binding oaths between men and lions –
Wolves and lambs can enjoy no meeting of the minds –
They are all bent on hating each other to the death.
So with you and me. No love between us. No truce
Till one or the other falls and gluts with blood
Ares who hacks at men behind his rawhide shield.

Achilles says this to Hector as they prepare to enter into one-on-one combat. Hector has asked Achilles if the winner of the fight will promise to return the loser’s body to their family, and Achilles says absolutely not. This is kind of a low thing for Achilles to say – it’s VERY taboo and inappropriate for a winner of a fight to destroy or desecrate the loser’s corpse.

Of course, Achilles does win the fight, and after it’s over, he ties Hector’s body to his chariot and drags it around on the ground, which is a real jerk move. But Achilles is still SO ANGRY over his bestie Patroclus’s death, he clearly isn’t thinking straight.

After reading the original, let’s check out the same scene from the 2004 movie, Troy:

What is different in these two versions? Why do you think the filmmakers chose to change Hector’s death scene so radically?

Closing Session:

Take a minute to consider your feelings about Hector’s death and how Achilles killed him. You could argue this is the climax of the story, so it’s a very important part.

Respond: Describe your reaction to Achilles’s treatment of Hector after Hector’s death.

Don’t forget! We have a Zoom meeting to discuss The Iliad tomorrow at 11am! Look for the link from your teacher at 10:45ish!

Looking Ahead: Tomorrow’s Checklist

  1. Participate in a Zoom meeting with your teachers and classmates.
  2. Discuss your reactions to and understanding of The Iliad
  3. Complete this week’s character research assignment and prepare for The Odyssey next week!

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