There are some serious gaps in my education. I never finished Joyce's Ulysses, I had huge problems with Faulkner, and choked on Flannery O'Connor. I was not an English major, thus did not confront Milton or Sir Walter Scott. I managed to get to Steinbeck, Hemingway, Styron, as well as Tolstoy and Dostoevsky but really fell down on the classics. Thus, I decided to load my Kindle with The Iliad and give it a go. Well, I gave it a go, and I am gone. First, what led me to expect I would be reading about the Trojan Horse? Because I am an ignoramus, that's why. The Trojan Horse shows up in the Aeneid by Virgil (I think) -- Yup, that's right, I haven't read that either. What a dummy.
Second, no one warned me that the Iliad's closest literary rivals (at least in style) are either the Book of Lists or the generations section of the Book of Genesis. My guess is that fully 50% of the Iliad is made up of the litany of who killed who, with what weapon, by what gruesome wound, and what lineage just got cut short. Not a few, not tens, but hundreds. With a sword though the jaw, with a sword through the stomach, with a sword through (or above, below or next to) the nipple. I think Homer (or his translator) has a thing for nipples -- it is the most frequently mentioned location for where swords (or pikes, or staffs, or whatever) puncture the human (male) body.
Achilles is an arrogant sort, supremely confident but only focused on himself and his due. Just a bit of an ego, to say the least. Agamemnon is apparently a grasping, pecuniary sort -- abusing his position as King to enrich himself. Homer also does not lack for ego, sees himself as a hero, and plays to the part right up until he ends up mano-a-mano with Achilles which prompts Hector to run like hell around the walls of Troy with Achilles in hot pursuit. Paris appears only in a supporting role, portrayed as a lover, not a fighter (a coward, in fact) and a kidnapper to boot. Helen plays a bit part...beautiful, but little else. Odysseus (Ulysses) appears as a courageous fighter, wise counsel, albeit with a temper. The Gods flit in and out, playing favorites with the humans, determining their fate, influencing human behavior, and arguing, scheming, and fighting amongst themselves
There is more, but I must admit I was not engaged. I am truly sorry. I know it is a tremendous story. I would like to blame it on the translation, but that would be unfair. It is me. I'll wait awhile and try The Odyssey - a story I adored as a child.