Classical Grammar and Literature
21st October 2013
Influence of the Gods in The Iliad
The Gods in The Iliad had a monumental impact on the outcome of the story. They played with the characters, almost like a simple game of chess. After considering a move, they sprung, which eventually culminated into considerable consequences. In the Iliad, battles were won with the help of Zeus and other Gods influencing the opposing army or the area surrounding them. Hector and Patroclus’ deaths were influenced majorly. The Gods in The Iliad played their role as “God” fabulously and unequivocally by manipulating, but not totally controlling a character’s opinions and desires.
Zeus was rather reluctant to tamper with the continuation of battle between the Trojans and Greeks. His brothers and sisters attempted to influence his opinions to their preferred outcomes. Hera and Athena were opposed to the Trojan forces as Paris said that Aphrodite was more beautiful than them. Thus, they attempted to force Zeus to intervene in different circumstances. Rivalries and alliances were created between different Gods long before the Iliad took place; this is shown when Paris had to choose who was the most gorgeous goddess. “Paris liked Aphrodite’s gift best of all, so he awarded the apple to her, and from that time on Hera and Athena hated all Trojans”(Rosenberg 125).
In Patroclus’ case, Achilles asked, “Lord of Olympus, in the past you have heard my prayers. You have honored me, and you have brought destruction upon the Greeks. Now hear my prayer again. I am sending my dearest friend into war with my Myrmidons. Grant him success and glory, but when he has driven the Trojans from the hollow ships, let him return uninjured to me”(Rosenberg 142). Zeus granted Patroclus success in battle, but did not grant him a safe return from battle. Apollo was angered by Patroclus’ many attempts to climb the Trojan’s walls. He told Patroclus that he needed to stand down and that it was not his fate to take Priam with his spear. Apollo then went to Hector and asked why he was not in battle and told him that he would help him kill Patroclus. “Unseen, the Lord of the Silver Bow took his immortal hand and struck the warrior on the back with such a mighty force that him eyes whirled in his head. Then he knocked Patroclus’s helmet to the ground, where it clattered as it rolled beneath the feet of the horses, and its horsehair crest became covered with blood and dust”(Rosenberg 144). With Apollo’s help Hector killed Patroclus, yet Hector’s fate was still intact.
Zeus wanted to intervene in Hector’s death and said, “I pity Hector, whom I