Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | Barron's Booknotes
KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS
SETTING / TIMELINE
Because The Iliad is packed with action and a variety of characters, the settings change rapidly throughout the tale. Book I is set in the Greek camp at Troy, where an assembly is held by Agamemnon. The scene then shifts to Mount Olympus, where Thetis pleads her son's case with Zeus.
Book II is also set in the Greek camp and spotlights the debate of the Achaeans.
The Trojan Plain becomes the setting for Book III. From there the scene shifts to Helen's apartment and then reverts to the field. The last section of Book III takes place in Helen's bedroom.
Book IV goes to the heights of Mt. Olympus and then shifts to the battlefield, which is also the setting for Books VI and VII.
Book VIII returns to Mt. Olympus, where an assembly of the gods is being held by Zeus; it is also set in the field and the Trojan camp.
Books IX through XII shift between the Greek camp, the Trojan camp, and the battlefield.
Book XIII is set on the sea and involves a battle among ships.
Books XIV through XVII shift between the Greek camp, Mt. Ida, Mt. Olympus, the battlefield, the sea battle, and the citadel.
Book XVIII shifts rapidly between the sea battle, a deep sea cave (the habitat of Thetis), the Trojan strand, heaven, and the brazen starry house of Hephaistos, the divine blacksmith.
Books XIX through XXI vary between the Greek camp, Mt. Ida, the battlefield, and the river Scamander.
Book XXII is set at the Scaean Gate and then shifts to the battlefield and the apartment of Andromache.
Book XXIII is set in the Hellespont, the ship of Achilles, and the Trojan coast, where games are held.
Book XXIV is set in the area around Troy, on Mt. Olympus, in Achilles' hut in the Greek camp, and in King Priam's palace.
The period spanned in the poem is roughly forty-seven days in the tenth and final year of the Trojan War. Book I covers twenty days.
Books II - VII cover two days.
Books VIII - X deal with the events of one day.
Books XI - XVIII cover one full day.
Books XIX - XXII cover events of another day.
Books XXIII - XXIV roughly cover events of twenty-two days.