Books 23-24 from The Illiad

Read Books 23 (handout from class) & 24 (pdf) from Homer's The Illiad. These two books present scenes of the underworld or of the dead interacting with the living. On a separate sheet of paper, please answer the following question using text evidence. I would like a paragraph response and a clear thesis statement for the question, per book (so, one response for 23 & one response for 24). 

What do we learn about the Greek attitude toward death and the afterlife from these episodes?

Context: The Iliad, Book 23. At the beginning of the book, Achilles’ friend Patroclus, who has been killed by the Trojan hero Hector, appears to Achilles in a dream. What does Patroclus ask Achilles? How does the afterlife work, according to Patroclus?

Context: The Iliad, Book 24. Achilles, mourning Patroclus, has killed Hector, has abused Hector’s body, and has refused to bury the body. Why does Priam go to the Greeks’ camp? How does he appeal to Achilles?


access the pdf (translated by Fagles) here:

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