Consider the Roles of Gods in the Iliad

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Classic Cultures 1110

Q: Consider the role of the gods in the Iliad. Why are they given credit or blame for so much of what happens at Troy? Does Zeus have ultimate control over the fate of these mortals? To what extent do the mortal characters exercise free will in their choice of actions? Be sure to discuss at least three separate episodes from the text to support your argument.

In Homer’s The Iliad, divine intervention is a recurrent theme in the epic. The epic portrays a world in which humans and Gods somewhat co-exist even though they are in very different worlds. We witness that heroes in The Iliad go through many troubles when “fate” and the Gods operate their lives. In Homer’s epic, the Gods intend to constantly change the lives of the people and manipulate events that take place on earth for their own self interest or any other reason. We see many recurrent patterns throughout the epic between the Gods, fate, and the heroes. For example, the Gods play a very important role in Troy. Certain gods are on each side of the war and they all have a reason, albeit petty, to help a side. Hera, the patron goddess of women, and Athena, goddess of war and wisdom, are opposed to the Trojans because a Trojan said that Aphrodite was more beautiful than them. Poseidon, the god of the sea, is also against the Trojans, because the king of Troy once enslaved him and made him build the city's walls and then refused to pay Poseidon. Although Apollo, god of poetry, archery, and healing, was enslaved at that time and cheated out of pay, he is on the Trojan side. Aphrodite, the goddess of love, is also on the Trojan side because a Trojan said she was very beautiful. Ares, the god of war, is also on the Trojan side. Those who remain more neutral are Zeus, the “king of the gods”, who controls the sky and the weather, Hephaistos, the god of…...

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