Iliad and War Zeus Essay

Submitted By bmac2323
Words: 1404
Pages: 6

In Homer’s epic poem, the Iliad, it was believed that the gods had an active involvement in the human world. Most, if not all the gods took part in the outcome of the Trojan War, which is the undermining story within Homer’s Iliad. Zeus took the form of the leader of the Greek gods, which was very unrealistic due to his lack of involvement in the Trojan War. Throughout the war Zeus stayed very moderate by not showing favoritism towards either side. Zeus stays moderate throughout the war so he can observe each god’s involvement in the war, basically overseeing everything his god’s do, and how much they impacted the war. In respect to the god’s relationships with the humans, they do not care about them or what happens to them, they are more concerned with their own self-satisfaction. The gods differ from the humans in this epic poem, because they can sway the odds in battle, and they know the fate of the humans. A reoccurring theme in The Iliad lies within the Anger, in one of if not the best soldier on either side, Achilles. Achilles grows very angry with the leader of the Greek forces, Agamemnon. On the first page it says, “Begin with the clash between Agamemnon – The Greek warlord – and godlike Achilles” (Homer 1). He is very angry that Agamemnon receives all the credit for the battles he and the rest of the Greek soldiers accomplished, while he cowardly sat back and did not fight. Within Achilles’ and Agamemnon’s confrontation, Achilles says, that he will not fight in the war against the Trojans. The role of Zeus in Homer's Iliad is one of moderator and the overall director of all that occurs in this story. His position was to ensure that whatever fate decreed would happen. A main duty of the gods in The Iliad are to make sure fate seeks its way. Zeus stayed impartial throughout almost the entire epic in contrast to the other gods, who would scheme and contrive plans for the sides that they chose to side with. For example, Hera, his wife, chose to display the more typical actions of a Greek divinity. Paris, a Trojan prince, chose Aphrodite as the fairest over Hera and Athena, and this infuriated her, and she went to no end to try to help the Greek army defeat the Trojan side. However, Hera recognizes the superiority of Zeus over herself as well as the rest of the Olympian gods. Hera is obviously the subservient god, even becoming afraid and ceasing speaking when Zeus orders her under the possible occurrence of him laying his "invincible" hands on her. She does try to undermine his power by trickery, slyly getting him to sleep while her and her brother, Poseidon, god of the seas, influence the war in the favor of the Greeks. Through this example you see that the gods have the ability to sway the odds of battle, although this was not something Zeus wanted or recommended. However, when Zeus awakens, his reemergence into the picture effectively eliminates the other gods from intervening in the war due to his sheer will and backing power. Zeus’ dream stated, “’Order him to arm his long-haired Greeks. Now is his time to capture Troy. The Olympian gods are no longer divided; Hera has bent them all to her will and targeted the Trojans for pain’” (Homer 20). The opposing gods were mainly Apollo and Artemis, twin brother and sister. They favored the Trojan side, and were constantly turning the tide in favor of the Trojans. Apollo respected Zeus and his enforcing of the laws of fate, however, and kept fate as it was deemed to be. An example of this is when Achilles' servant, Patroclus, tries to take the city of Troy. Before Patroclus was allowed to wear Achilles' armor into battle, he promised only to drive the Trojans away from the ships and not to take an offensive against the city of Troy. Only the reflection of Patroclus by Apollo's shield three times prevents this. This lack of moderation shown by Patroclus, as well as the deeming of death before the end of battle by fate, granted by Zeus, leads to his death. Achilles