Study Guide

The Trojan Horse Themes

  • Lies and Deceit

    The old Trojan Horse trick is one of the most legendary deceits of all time, so there's no doubt that this story is going be chock full of lies. Not only is Odysseus' sneaky plan totally deceptive, the plan also requires Sinon to tell a whole string of lies to get the Trojans to drag the giant horse into their city. So the real question becomes this: just how dishonorable is it of the Greeks to use this tactic? You could see them as low down scoundrels, or you could see them as just being smarter than their enemies.

    Questions About Lies and Deceit

    1. Is it right or wrong of the Greeks to use the Trojan Horse stratagem? What do you think?
    2. Is it ever O.K. to lie? Why or why not?
    3. What would you say is the most destructive lie told in this story?
    4. List all the lies told by Sinon.
    5. Is Odysseus a clever strategist, or a total war criminal? Explain your answer.
  • Warfare

    The story of the Trojan Horse is one of the most famous incidents of the Trojan War, which is totally one of the most iconic wars in all of Western literature. So yeah, we'd say warfare is probably a pretty big theme in this story. One thing that's interesting about the Trojan Horse itself is that it isn't your average weapon of mass destruction. You know, it's not like Odysseus decides to build a big flamethrower to incinerate the walls of Troy. Instead, he comes up with a far craftier way to cause massive devastation. In some ways, you could see the Trojan Horse a prelude to our world of modern warfare, where the side with the best technology can often dominate its foes.

    Questions About Warfare

    1. When is there a good reason to go to war? Explain your answer. 
    2. What is the difference between honorable warfare and dishonorable warfare?
    3. In what ways might the Trojan Horse stratagem similar to any tactics that we use in modern warfare?
    4. Can you think of another tactic the Greeks might have used to get past the walls of Troy?