The Iliad is a classic epic poem written by Homer about the Trojan War and the rage of an Achaean warrior, Achilles. The book introduces the reader to the war and the personal battle between Achilles and King Agamemnon; because of this argument between these two major characters, Homer introduces the role of the gods when Achilles asks his mother, Thetis, to go to Zeus and beg for his interference on Achilles’ behalf. The major role the gods play in the Iliad is their interference in the Trojan War as immortal versus immortal and mortal versus immortal.
As the reader goes through the many books in the Iliad, he or she may notice the battle of immortal versus immortal on Mount Olympus. The gods are introduced in this book as major characters that have taken a side on either Team Trojans or Team Achaeans. Aphrodite, Apollo, and Ares are the main gods on Team Trojans, while Hera and Athena fight for Team Achaeans. Zeus is supposedly neutral, but in book one Thetis approaches Zeus saying, “honor my son Achilles!-doomed to live the shortest life of any man on earth […] grant the Trojans victory […] till the Achaean armies pay my dea...
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... of Odysseus, and accompanies him on his travels.
These two gods have different effects on the story: Poseidon is trying to cause pain and suffering for Odysseus, while Athena is trying to help Telemachus and give him hope that his father will return soon. The role of these gods is important to both journeys as Odysseus and Telemachus try to reunite their family.
In these two classic, epic poems told by Homer, the roles of the gods are very important to the characters and their journey throughout the books. It is always a positive or negative effect but the gods’ interference on mortals’ lives makes this an epic journey that has been remembered for thousands of years. The Iliad and the Odyssey are very different from each other in that the Iliad has more gods that effect the war and its outcome whereas the Odyssey only has two major gods that effect two characters.
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