ENGL 2111/Fall 2020/Schedule/Lesson 3

From Gerald R. Lucas
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September 2 – September 22: Introduction to Epic Poetry and Homer’s Iliad
The first of Homer’s two great epics, the Iliad is a song of rage and its consequences on human lives.

Achilles Lamenting the Death of Patroclus, Gavin Hamilton, c. 1760

The Iliad (a song about Ilium, or Troy) along with its companion epic the Odyssey form the foundation of ancient Greek culture and address the extremes of human experience through war and peace. In our brief look at the Iliad, we will consider the theme of duty to community versus individual rights and desires, the friendship between Achilles and Patroclus, and the consequences of war on civilizations and individuals. Homer’s epic does not romanticize war, but instead shows the heroic beauty of humanity at its most violent.

Before we get to the Iliad, we must first spend some time learning about one of humanity’s oldest art forms: the epic. Coming from an oral, ceremonial tradition, epic poetry recounts the earliest tales of human heroics at a time of expansion and uncertainty. Epics bring together the early narratives of a nation and its values into songs of ritual and entertainment.

Lesson Instructions and Explanation

Generally to avoid confusion, I have tried to make all lessons work the same way. Each lesson will have its weekly section presented in a chart. Work your way from left to right. Open links in tabs, so you don’t lose track of this page.


This is the date this sections’s work is due. Complete everything in the row before 11:59:59 pm on this date.


These are the readings for this section. Read them carefully, taking notes as you do. I recommend reading from a book or on paper, as you can highlight an annotate as you progress. This will help you in the next sections.


This section will usually be a reading quiz on what you just read, so be sure to take it while the reading is fresh in your mind. However, it may also include other assignments or activities that must be accomplished.


Most writing will be on the class forum. This section will contain instructions and guidance for completing your writing. Often, this will link to a series of discussion prompts for the text you’re reading. Choose one prompt, or thread, to answer, or create your own post (especially if there are none there you can or want to respond to) by clicking + New Topic. I’m looking for your engagement here, so aim for a single longish post and a shorter response to someone else’s post. Using secondary sources correctly for support will always earn you more points. Be sure you’re following the conventions outlined in Writing in the Liberal Arts and the guidelines in Academic Forum Posts.


The test will be the last activity. It will test your knowledge of the entire lesson’s materials. Take this only after you have accomplished everything else in the lesson. The idea here is that you show me what you learned about the all of the lesson’s material. Please write in complete sentences and give enough detail to answer the questions. Your answers should convince me that you have learned and thought about the materials.

Due Read Do Write Test
09/08 Quiz Respond -
Quiz Respond -
Quiz Respond Test


  1. A link to feedback is at the top of every lesson page. YOu guys are reading carefully and completely, right? I ask because my feedback for last week was viewed only twice.
  2. 2.0 2.1 These excerpts, like all others for the class, are available on the forum.
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