Classics Retold – “The Iliad” Part 1


First off… I am SOOOO excited about this! After participating in The Cheap Reader’s Project: Fairy Tale, I knew I HAD to participate in her newest endeavor! This one, however, is so much bigger and it’s hosted by several other of my favorite bloggers!

Alrighty… let’s get started!


For my Classics Retold project I chose to read The Iliad and then books that retold this classic epic poem. Um… clearly I was not in my right mind when I chose to read this because whoa, it’s long. I guess that’s why it’s called EPIC (badum ching).

Literally, I’ve been reading since May and am only like 17% done. But, despite the fact that it’s taking FOREVER, I’m really enjoying it. There are some scenes where I’m just reading words on a page, but then I’ll hit a stride and wow… Homer was pretty hilarious.

Here are my thoughts on books 1-4:

The poem begins toward the end of the war between the Greeks and the Trojans, but basically… this poem is about Achilles. However, we see A LOT of other major characters, namely the various gods, Agamemnon, Paris, Hector, Helen, Odysseus, etc.

There really seems to be a good deal of talking in the first 4 books – heck, one of the books I’m pretty sure is just naming every single soldier who fought on both sides – which is probably why this war has taken nearly 10 years. So, once I got to the actual fighting towards book 4… it kind of was like “oh, wow, they do something!”

Really, I don’t want to just retell what actually happens, because snore, boring. But I would like to talk about some points that I’ve “discovered” while reading:

1) A lot of the arguments within the book deal with women. I know we all know the conflict of the face that launched a thousand ships, but it goes further than that. At the very beginning Achilles gets angry because his “prisoner” is taken from him – a woman named Briseis. This very nearly stars a fight and he threatens to withdraw from the war if she’s taken from him. We’re also shown the arguments between the gods over which side to support. One in particular between Zeus and Hera seems to spark much of the gods’ involvement in the war – Zeus chose to help Thetis (Achilles’ mom) when she pleaded with him to hurt the Greeks; Hera liked the Greeks and thus she began her part in the war. And then there’s Helen… who, so far, hasn’t really seemed so bad.

2) The gods are basically dicks. Like things are starting to smooth out, the war is nearly over, but then the gods are like “Nope! We’re bored!” and they screw with everything. Not cool.

3) After watching Troy (my post about this is soon to come!) I was pretty set on “good” and “bad” guys in this story. Troy = hotty pants, hotty pants = good, therefore Troy = good. Greece = disgusting old letches, disgusting old letches = bad, Greece = bad. Brad Pitt = hotty pants… you get the idea. So it was VERY hard reading this and seeing these characters who I had already made up my mind about in a whole new light. The Greeks WEREN’T bad. The Trojans WEREN’T good. They began to blend together and my eyes began spinning because I had no idea who was good and who was bad.

I’ll be back later with more on my reading and what “revelations” I’ve come to while reading The Iliad. In the mean time, I hope you enjoy my other posts throughout the month on retellings of The Iliad!


2 thoughts on “Classics Retold – “The Iliad” Part 1”

  1. It’s so hard when everything starts blending together and getting mixed up in your mind!! Hopefully the rest of it goes well! Good luck!!!! 🙂 I commend you for tackling it!


  2. Hilarious and accurate comment in point 2).

    I reread this recently. WIth the internet at hand to check who was who at any given time I found it easier to follow this time around. There are hundreds of characters and all the different groups of people seem to have half a dozen names they go by. For example Homer refers to the Greeks as – The Argives, The Acheans, The Danaans and The Hellenes.

    But I loved the battle descriptions and the protrayals of honour, friendship and family.


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