Homer depicted the gods as powerful beings with negative attributes that will harm people if they do not appease to the immortals. So are the Greeks of this time just worshipping the gods to avoid harm and repercussions? People seemed to be so focused on appeasing the gods that they weren’t following their own paths of life. Regular people make mistakes and with the temperate of the immortals, the whole race could nearly be wiped out for making the wrong reaction in the presence of a god. Whether it would be direct contact or indirect effects of an immortal to a mortal, the interaction with gods may have some positive effects for humans, but overall gods can overreact at petty things thus canceling out the positive.
The gods use their insight to affect Oedipus’ life, family and city. Although the gods do not initially favor Oedipus, his kingdom sees him as a noble ruler. Oedipus’ pride prevents him from seeing the truth and this leads to his great fall. His pride forces him to kill his father because he refuses to pay a toll and give up the right of way. Oedipus is so blinded by his pride that he can not accept the fact that he can not avoid his fate placed upon him by the gods.
Aristophanes also defiantly misrepresents an icon like Socrates as comical, atheistic, and consumed by ideas of self interest, which is contradictory to the Socrates seen in Plato's Apology or Phaedo. Aristophanes denounces the importance of the gods' influence on the actions of mortals. In the usual tragedy, the gods play an extremely important role towards the actions of the mortal characters. Through fear of the alternative and examples of the past, Athenians carried out their everyday lives under the guidance of the gods' wishes. Aristophanes challenges the audience, and Greek culture as a whole, by offering a different view on the answers and directions of life, than that of the gods.
Dionysus knows that due to being a foreign god, the Greeks do not accept him and are ignorant of his rank. Instead of taking this information into consideration, Dionysus instead decides to prove his superiority by destroying Pentheus for disrespecting him. He seethes stating that the “city has to learn…making mortal man endorse the fact that [He is] a god.” (The Bacchae 397). This blatant challenge to humankind conveys Dionysus’ desire to forcefully correct those who are ignorant of his reputation as a god and force their respect through fear and violence. This is further proven when he succeeds in his plan, by driving Agave to conduct sparagmos on her own son, and becomes distraught at losing their son.
When the destructive proclamation went out, however, Prometheus alone objected to Zeus' heartless proposal. He saw in man a spark of divine promise that even the gods might envy, and in order to save the human race, he willingly and courageously committed a crime: he brought fire down from heaven and taught the mortals how to use it. Furthermore, he tutored them in practical arts, applied sciences and philosophy, so that he might edify, ennoble and empower them. But these saving acts were deemed highly treasonous; such knowledge in the hands of mortals threatened to put them on an equal footing with the gods themselves. Furious, Zeus commanded the Olympian blacksmith god of fire, Hephaestus, and the gods of Might and Force, Kratos and Bia, to seize Prometheus and shackle him to a barren mountainside.
The gods cause Creon's destruction, acting in a just and logical way to the blasphemous deeds he committed. His destruction is very much in his own hands, despite the many warnings he receives from advisors such as Tiresias ("you have no business with the dead"), Haemon ("I see my father offending justice - wrong") and the Chorus ("could this possibly the work of the gods?" "good advice, Creon, take it now, you must"). He drives head long into it, ignoring those who counsel him. His inability to listen to others is very critical to his downfall, as we see in his rebukes to the Sentry for example ("Still talking?
On the battle field, however, it was often the side who's sole power was a just faith in the gods who perished. The deities at times provide hope for individuals to accomplish tasks, but the same concept of hope can be detrimental when applied to larger affairs such as war. In Greek society the contrast between the physical and psychological power derived from the gods was incredibly important to society, because while the divine can not tactically improve an army, it is apparent that the deities provided a psychological foundation that held up much of Greek society. Thucydides provides multiple accounts in his history of the Peloponnesian war where over trust in the gods leads to imminent defeat. Plato, in both the The Republic and the Symposium, points out different circumstances in which the belief in the gods maintains an ordered society by fulfilling peoples hubristic notions of life.
Fear and the overwhelming feeling of payback are two answers. Homer gives numerous examples of how certain characters demonstrate their power in a fury of rage. He writes of the payback Zeus gives to those who break the rules, of Poseidon’s hatred towards Odysseus, and of Odysseus’s revenge to those who have dishonored his home. Zeus is the most powerful of all gods. All the Greeks with sense know not to cross him.
(Homer II, 155-186) They do not heed this warning and are punished in the end by Odysseus with the help of Athena. These situations support his argument, however, there are numerous other situations in which the gods’ intervention is detrimental and due to no fault of a human. The journey of Odysseus is full of situations in which a god’s intervention is harmful or beneficial and caused by the fault of a human or the impulse of a god. Zeus’s argument is incomplete, as he removes all blame from the gods and places them on humans. These situations prove that a human’s fate lies in the responsibility of both men and gods, with both creating misfortune and providence.
Thousands of Greeks died during that war which was triggered by Agamemnon’s anger. In the Iliad Homer gives a good example of a bad king. Of a king who impulsively started the most murderous ancient war because of his anger and wrath. Homer wants to teach his people by pointing out this impulsive decision that Agamemnon had made. The Achilles’ rejection of participating in the Trojan war is also can be used as an example of a rush and unthinking action.