Supernatural In The Iliad

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Role of the Supernatural Homer’s ancient masterpiece, The Iliad, held tremendous religious and otherworldly elements during the time of the Trojan War. Heroes were born from divine beings and warriors, and kings consulted prophets to seek answers and guidance. Gods entered the battlefield to protect their champions by giving advice or taking part in the fighting. Unfortunately, humans were only mere pawns in their game of thrones. In contrast, Kalidasas’ Sakuntala, is a romantic drama between two young lovers, both of noble houses. This story also utilizes the power of the supernatural. However, the Gods intervention did not alter the characters’ destinies, but influenced them through guidance. This aspect is not revealed until the end of the story. Both stories differ from each other in supernatural status, while the Iliad ending is somber, in Sakuntala it prevails blithely. Although the gods are immortal, The Iliad gave them human emotions. They felt human traits such as love, humor, empathy and disdain. They held grudges and played cruel jokes on each other, but also exhibited care for those who asked for their aid. For instance, Glacaus was overcome with grief when Sarpedon was killed, however; he prayed to the god, Apollo, to be healed so he could avenge his fallen comrade. Apollo “eased his pain, staunched the black blood from the wound, and gave him new strength” (167). After the death of Hector at the hands of Achilles, the goddess, Iris, was sent by the great god, Jove, to Hector’s father, Priam. Iris prompted Priam to collect the body (148). Mercury was sent as a guide to Priam to ensure Priam had reached Achilles’ tent unharmed (188). Homer ensured the supernatural was felt throughout the story and ... ... middle of paper ... ... have faith the gods will bring them good fortune, while in Sakuntala, the heroine is faith. Even after all of her suffering, it is her faith and love for the King that finally reunites them. The rule of the supernatural in both stories was felt immanently and transcendently, fulfilling the plan of Fate. The stories allowed for life’s order to fall in place as designed by the divine. The fate of the characters involved was predetermined, and although the Gods and demons were powerful beings, they could not change the future. This understanding allowed the characters to choose their destiny. In both stories mortals as well as the divine faced challenges and uncertainty. Whether it be love or war, the divine played a significant role in both making the role of the supernatural more similar than different through faith held by all.

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