The Iliad

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Achilles

Achilles is the protagonist of the Iliad, and the story centers on his rage anger against Agamemnon. The son of the immortal sea-nymph Thetis and the Phthian king Peleus, Achilles is by… (read full character analysis)

Hector

The eldest prince of Troy and heir to the throne. Hector is brave warrior and a thoughtful leader. He is also a devoted husband and father, and is very concerned for the survival of Troy… (read full character analysis)

Zeus

The king of the gods, Zeus’ power greatly exceeds his fellow immortals. The fate of the war is changed when Zeus promises Thetis that he will give glory to Achilles by turning the war against… (read full character analysis)

Agamemnon

King of Mycenae and leader of the Achaean armies. Agamemnon is the wealthiest of any of the Achaean kings and also commands the largest army. However, his leadership can be questionable at times. He quarrels… (read full character analysis)

Hera

Zeus’ wife and queen of the gods. After Paris does not select her as being the most beautiful goddess, Hera has a passionate hatred of Troy. She conspires to destroy the city, often attempting… (read full character analysis)
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Thetis

Achilles’ mother, a sea-nymph. Thetis cares greatly for her mortal son, and is determined to fulfill his wishes before he dies. Legend has it that when Achilles was an infant, Thetis dipped in him… (read full character analysis)

Paris

Trojan prince, son of Priam and brother of Hector. Cowardly but successful with women, before the events of the Iliad Paris was asked to judge whether Hera, Athena, or Aphrodite was the most beautiful… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Patroclus
Achilles’ constant companion and brother in arms, Patroclus is known for his compassion and good sense. When the Trojans begin to attack the Achaean ships, Patroclus puts on Achilles armor and fights the Trojans in Achilles’ place. He kills many men, but is ultimately slain by Hector.
Priam
The king of Troy. Priam is an old man now, but once was a skillful fighter. He cares deeply for his numerous sons, and is heartbroken when Hector is slain by Achilles. When the time comes he travels alone to Achilles to ransom back Hector’s body.
Apollo
The golden archer, god of prophecy and music. Apollo passionately supports the Trojans in the war, and often gives assistance and encouragement on the battlefield.
Athena
The goddess of wisdom. Athena is a strong supporter of the Achaeans, having also been rejected by Paris along with Hera. She frequently lends courage and support to Achaean heroes such as Achilles, Diomedes, and Odysseus.
Poseidon
Zeus’ younger brother, the god of the sea and of earthquakes. Poseidon supports the Achaean forces, and secretly them lends his strength during Zeus’ ban on divine intervention.
Aphrodite
The goddess of love. Aphrodite was chosen by Paris over Hera and Athena, and now supports the Trojans wholeheartedly.
Diomedes
An Achaean hero, king of Argos. In Book 5, Diomedes kills many Trojans in a stretch of fighting prowess.
Great Ajax
Achaean, commander of the forces from Salamis. Great Ajax is physically the strongest Achaean. He duels or fights with Hector several times.
Odysseus
Achaean, leader of the forces from Ithaca. Odysseus is known for is cunning and his persuasive language.
Nestor
Achaean, king of the Pylians. Known for his advanced age and wise advice.
Menelaus
Agamemnon’s brother and king of Sparta. Previously married to Helen, who was abducted by Paris to begin the war.
Hephaestus
The god of fire and forges.
Helen
Paris’ wife and Menelaus’ former wife, Helen is the most beautiful woman in the world.
Xanthus
The god of the river and the river itself. He fights Achilles after Achilles kills too many Trojans in his waters.
Sarpedon
A Trojan ally, captain of the Lycians. Sarpedon is Zeus’ son, and Zeus almost rescues him from his death.
Chryses
A priest of Apollo from a city allied with Troy. He asks that Agamemnon return his daughter, Chryseis, after she is taken captive by the Greeks. When Agamemnon refuses, Chryses calls on Apollo to curse the Achaeans.
Chryseis
The daughter of Chryses, who is taken captive by the Achaeans and given to Agamemnon.
Aeneas
A Trojan captain, son of Aphrodite.
Little Ajax
Achaean captain, friend of Great Ajax.
Iris
Zeus’ messenger goddess.
Ares
The god of war.
Idomeneus
Achaean captain, king of Crete.
Thersites
A dissenting common Achaean soldier.
Calchas
A seer for the Achaeans.
Teucer
Half brother of Great Ajax. A master archer.
Meriones
Idomeneus’ second in command. A skillful warrior.
Pandarus
The Trojan archer who breaks the truce in Book 4.
Briseis
A girl taken captive by Achilles.
Glaucus
A Trojan ally from Lycia, co-commander with Sarpedon.
Sleep
The personification of the state of conscious.
Phoenix
An older Achaean who helped raise Achilles.
Sthenelus
Achaean captain, co-commander with Diomedes
Andromache
Hector’s wife.
Antilochus
Nestor’s son, an Achaean commander.
Menestheus
An Achaean soldier.
Polydamas
A Trojan commander.
Dolon
A Trojan scout killed during Diomedes and Odysseus’ night raid.
Artemis
Apollo’s sister, goddess of chastity and the hunt.
Astyanax
Hector’s infant son.
Hecuba
Priam’s wife and Hector’s mother.
Antenor
A Trojan elder, father of many Trojan warriors.
Machaon
An Achaean healer.
Deiphobus
A prince of Troy, son of Priam.
Helenus
Prince of Troy, son of Priam, and a seer.
Peleus
Achilles’ father, king of Phthia
Dione
Aphrodite’s mother.
Leto
The mother of Apollo and Artemis.
Lycaon
A son of Priam, killed by Achilles.
Euphorbus
A young Trojan favored by Hector.
Automedon
Achilles and Patroclus’ chariot driver.