The Iliad, By Homer

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Throughout Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad, the gods resemble and take on human characteristics. While it is assumed that gods are divine entities incapable of human transgression, they are portrayed with all the flaws of mortals in The Iliad. The gods are a manifestation of human emotions consequently helping to explain the behavior of the humans in The Iliad. The actions of the heroes are what determine their fate, not divine intervention. Ultimately, the humans in The Iliad have certain attributes that provide reason for their behavior, while the gods flow with this, allowing humans freely make their own choices. Although bestowed with the title of god, the text describes the gods with mortal like flaws and traits. The gods in power, like Zeus, exhibit bias, dishonor, betrayal, deception, and many other humanly characteristics. One memorable scene is when Zeus and Poseidon are in conflict with each other over the Achaeans versus the Trojans. Zeus controls the battle by “lifting the famous runner Achilles’ glory higher,” (Homer 13: 404). Zeus plays both sides in this scene, acting like a double agent which is dishonorable. Zeus’s bias is prevalent throughout the poem; specifically, he is “bent on wiping out the Argives, down to the last man,” (Homer 12: 81-82). Agamemnon and Achilles show suspicion towards each other and although it may be defined as a human trait, the gods are found with similar emotion towards each other. Zeus is not the only god found behaving in such a humanly fashion, Heras lies to Aphrodite in order to manipulate Zeus. When looking at the dishonorable crimes a god has committed they seem unacceptable, but those same crimes committed by a human seem justifiable. Hera is committed to the war and her support... ... middle of paper ... than to take responsibility for themselves. Humans in The Iliad are battling internal struggles concurrently throughout the war which justifies why the the gods would take opposite sides. The gods in The Iliad, although perceived as aloof and intangible deities, they argue, forgive and compromise in a similar fashion as mortals. As the gods try to influence the heroes in this poem, they become justifications for humans’ actions rather than truly influential forces. Hence, it is clear that each Greek warrior is actually exercising free will. It is natural for the humans in the text and everywhere, to have these basic traits that influence their actions; the gods in this case are like an essential enzyme that begin the process for the humans to follow. Works Cited Homer. The Iliad. Translated by Robert Fagles. New York, NY:Penguin Books, 1990. Print.

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