Role of Zeus in the Iliad

Rhea hid the newborn in a cave on Mount Dictate in Crete. (To this day, the guides at the “cave of Zeus” SE their flashlights to cast shadow puppets in the cave, creating images of baby Zeus from the myth,) When he had grown up, Zeus caused Crocus to vomit up his sisters and brothers, and these gods joined him in fighting to wrest control of the universe from the Titans and Crocus, their king.

Having vanquished his father and the other Titans, Zeus imprisoned most of them in the underworld of Tartar’s. Then he and his brothers Poseidon and Hades divided up creation, Poseidon received the sea as his domain, Hades got the Underworld and Zeus took the sky. Zeus also was accorded supreme authority on earth and on Mount Olympus. Zeus was also known for having many relations with mortal and immortal alike.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

His offspring include Ares god of war, Iris goddess of discord, Apollo god of light, Aphrodite goddess of beauty, Hermes god of thieves and commerce, Artemisia huntsman of the gods, Hyphenates god of the forge, Persephone wife of Hades, Web goddess of youth, Dionysus god of the vine, Pauses, Minis King Of Create, Urethane’s the Muses namely, Clio (History), Iranian (Astronomy), Employment (Tragedy), Thaliana (Comedy), Terpsichore (Dance), Calliope (Epic Poetry), Orator (Lou Poetry), Polyphonic (Songs to the Gods), Utter (Lyric Poetry), and his favorite Athena.

Other stories in Greek mythology include the creation Of the world, the overthrowing Of Croons, creation Of man by Prometheus, the lovers of Zeus who all have stories of their own, the birth of Athena, the wanderings of Dionysus and the labors of Hercules. The story of the Iliad is focusing on the Trojan War. This war is between the Trojan and the Achaeans. There are several themes in the story, one often being the wrath of Achilles and the will of Zeus, With this I will end my introduction. Chapter 2 Recommended Reading Merit and Responsibility: A Study in Greek Values by Adkins, A. W. H. Religion in the Homeric Epics by Carpenter, Rays.

The Greeks and Their Gods by Guthrie, W. K. C. The Homeric Gods by Otto, Walter F-_ Translated by Moses Hades The Iliad Modern Critical Interpretations by Harold Bloom The Iliad by Homer Translated by Robert Fitzgerald The Iliad – Classics in Translation. Volvo. By Paul Mackenzie understanding the Iliad by Leon Golden The Iliad: Structure, Myth and Meaning by Bruce Louder Here are some excerpts from which got my information: The Role Of the Gods in Homer’s Iliad If one holds the contemporary view of the Christian God then it may be difficult o comprehend the actions and motivation Of the Greek deities.

The Christian God does not tend to take such an active role in the affairs of people’s lives, where, on the other hand, “the Greeks regarded direct involvement by the gods as a daily, uncontrollable part of life”(Guthrie 17). Needless to say, divine intervention was a major variable in the equation of Homer’s Iliad. The gods picked who they would favor for different reasons, except Zeus. As the symbol of supreme authority and justice, he makes judgment calls as to the other gods’ involvement in the war, remains impartial, and doesn’t seem to get caught p in picking favorites.

Even when his own son, Sarandon, was about to die, Zeus chose to let the outcome go unaltered. On the other hand, Zeus wife, Hear, displayed the more typical actions to a god. Tater Paris, a Trojan, judged Aphrodite the fairest over Hear, and, after her daughter Web replaced as caperer to the gods by a young Trojan boy, she was quite resentful towards Troy and its people. Obviously, she sided with the Greeks and would stop at nothing to express her will. Scheming and manipulating, she even dared to trick her husband, King of the Gods.

Hear, along with Athena, who Vass also passed ever by Paris, is seen as the chief divine aid to the Greeks. Being the god of the sea, Poseidon was another strong supporter of the ocean-faring Creeks, Whenever Zeus turned his back, Poseidon tried to help the Greeks in the fight. Poseidon felt that he was somewhat Zeus equal, as his brother, but recognizing Zeus authority and experience, he looked to Zeus as an elder. There were also Gods who favored the Trojan side Of the conflict. Both Apollo and Artemisia, twin brother and sister, gave aid to the city of Troy.

Although Artemisia takes a rather minor role, Apollo, perhaps angered by Agamemnon refusal to ransom Shirkers, the daughter of one of his priests, and was constantly changing the course Of the war in favor Of the Trojan. Responsible for sending plague to the Greeks, Apollo was the first god to make an appearance in the Iliad. Also, mainly because Apollo and Artemisia were on the Trojan side, their mother, Let, also helped the Trojan. Aphrodite, obviously supporting Parish’s judgment, sided with the Trojan.

Although she was insignificant on the battlefield, Aphrodite was successful in convincing Ares, her lover and the god of war, to help the Trojan, One view of the gods’ seemingly constant intervention in the war was that they ere just setting fate back on the right course. For instance, when Patrols was killed outside of Troy, Apollo felt no guilt for his doings. It had already been decided that Patrols would not take Troy, he should never have disobeyed Achilles in the first place. As a god, he was just setting fate on a straight line.

Achilles laid blame on Hector and the Trojan, He did not even consider accusing Apollo, who never came into question, although he was primarily responsible for the kill. Polio’s part in the matter was merely accepted as a natural disaster, or illness, would be today. This general acceptance of a god’s will is a recurring trend throughout the poem. A prime example of this trend is in book XIV. [ Achilles, angry over the death of Patrols brutally disgraced Hectors body. Tethering Hectors corpse through the ankles, Achilles dragged him around Patrols’ tomb every day for twelve days.

This barbaric treatment was uncalled for and displeased the gods greatly. Achilles mother, Thesis, was sent by Zeus to tell him to ransom the body back to the Trojan. One may think Achilles would be possessive Of the body and attempt to put up a fuss as he did before With Agamemnon in Book l. But, Achilles showed humility and respect for the gods and immediately agreed to ransom the body to the Trojan, showing that all mortals, even god-like Achilles, were answerable to the gods.

This ideology would seem to give the gods a sort of unlimited freedom on earth, although, the gods could not always do as they pleased and, eventually, had to come before Zeus, Zeus acted as a balance of sorts throughout the Iliad. He had to keep the gods in order and make sure that what fate decreed, would happen, For example, after Achilles re-enters the battle, Zeus declared that it Achilles was allowed to o on slaughtering the Trojan with nothing to slow him down, he would take Troy before Tate said it would happen.

Therefore, to commuter Achilles massive retaliation against the Trojan, Zeus allowed the gods to go back to the battle field. In Zeus own interests, he preferred to deal with issues more personal to the individual heroes of the Iliad, This can be seen throughout the book as Zeus attempted to increase the honor of certain individuals. Zeus knew that Hector was going to be killed by Achilles, and, feeling sorry for Hector, Zeus attempted to allow Hector to die an honorable death.

For instance, when Hector stripped Achilles armor off Patronage, Zeus helped Hector ‘Till out” the armor so he would not seem like less of a man than Achilles. Zeus also gave his word to Thesis that Achilles would gain much glory – showing his involvement on a personal level. Homer used the gods, and their actions, to establish twists on the plot of the war. It would not have been possible for him to write the Story Without the divine interventions of the gods.

Indeed, they affected every aspect of the poem in some way, shape or form. Yet, from the immortal perspective Of the Greek god, he Trojan War, and everything related to was only a passing adventure in the great expanse Of time. The Role Of Zeus in Homer’s Iliad In the era of Homer, divine intervention was thought to be typical, and one of his foremost works, The Iliad, reflects this. Nearly all of the Greek gods are involved in the outcome of the Trojan War, which happens to be the background story of this epic poem.

The gods are used by Homer to add twists on an otherwise standard plot of war. I shall concentrate on Zeus, however, and reflect on his actions and their outcomes on the Trojan War, and more importantly, the story f The Iliad, Zeus, very untypical of a Greek god in his lack of involvement in the Trojan War for selfish reasons, was portrayed as the father figure, being impartial and fair to both sides of the war. He remains this way to serve as a check for each god’s involvement in the war.

Without his presence at the head of the inner circle of Olympus, it is likely that the activity of the Trojan War would become chaotic, possibly even becoming a playground of war for the gods. With Zeus majestic power, above all of the other gods combined, along with his experience, he is quite befitting to his role in the storyline of The Iliad. The Iliad was thought to be written by a Greek minstrel named Homer _ The Iliad Vass the first of the major epics credited to him, the second being The Odyssey.

Discussion about Homer among scholars inevitably leads to controversy on nearly every conceivable issue, ranging from his birthplace to his actual composition of either of these epics. Because Of our lack Of reliable information, we have but a small fragment of knowledge agreed on by scholars about the writer of the first great piece Of literature Of Western civilization. Homer in ancient Greece was conceived as a “blind, old man. Inning or reciting his own compositions” (History of Horticulture), and at least seven ancient Greek cities claimed to be his birthplace.

His work has been questioned as to two separate ways: if one minstrel, possibly named Homer, composed these works alone, and if so, if this minstrel wrote both of these epics, It has been argued that Homer is, in fact, the collective progression of minstrels that have passed this ever-evolving tale down until it was inscribed into the epic that we have today. The opposite has been argued also, however. Concerning the second question, that of it Homer wrote both The

Iliad and The Odyssey, several points have been brought up, One point brought up is the tact that they have been thought to be written over a generation apart, which, if true, makes it very unlikely for one man to have composed both of these classic epics. The other point brought up is the amount of variances in the writing of these epics, especially in writing style and word choice and phrasing, It has been proposed by several scholars that the authors of The Iliad and The Odyssey be named Homer I and Homer II, respectively.

However the origin of these epics, they are classics and served as cornerstones for the early Western literature, and sibyl even modern as well, The Iliad has been ascribed to Homer in approximately 750 BC. This would put his writing several centuries after the completion of the Trojan War, currently thought to have occurred in 1 185 BC Homer is writing in what historians call the Dark Ages of Greek history, in which the Greek population saw a virtual elimination Of literacy.

By the time his epics were composed, literacy had begun to return, which is one of the reasons his works became so popular. Hornier reflects on a different time, almost a half millennium earlier, reflecting on an era known as the Heroic Ace. This contrasts directly With the contemporary society Of Homer, in Which the quality Of life dropped tremendously. The Iliad, in essence, recounts the story of part of the tenth year of the Trojan War. It recounts of the anger of Achilles, the greatest warrior present at Troy, and of the background battle that is ensuing.

The background story of the Trojan War is assumed to be known by the reader, and Homer focuses his energies on expanding the characters of the epic, showing the reader that he is more a dramatist than a pure historian, writing for pleasurable purposes rather than strictly educational purposes. The main theme of The Iliad is the anger of Achilles, even starting in the first line of the play. The wrath of Achilles is brought on by the irrational actions of the leader of the Greek forces, Agamemnon, Achilles refuses to fight against the Trojan, and the Greeks suffer accordingly without their top warrior.

Two other themes are intertwined around this main theme, one being the Trojan War, and the final being the will of Zeus, my subject. These intertwining themes meet in the end of the epic, when Achilles’ wrath is curbed and he returns to battle. The role of Zeus in Homer’s Iliad is one of moderator and the overall director of all hat occurs in this Story. His position was to ensure that whatever fate decreed would happen. As stated before, without his presence, the stop/ would likely become 3 war playground for the gods instead Of the Greeks and Trojan.

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 ally with. For example, Hear, his wife, chose to display the more typical actions of a Greek divinity. Paris, a Trojan prince, chose Aphrodite as the fairest over Hear and Athena, and this infuriated her, and she went to no end to try to help the Greek army defeat the Trojan side (Classics in Translation, 14).

However, Hear recognizes the superiority of Zeus over herself as well as the rest of the Olympian gods. Hear 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 (Iliad, Book l, 30). 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 tooth Greeks (Iliad, Book XIV, 334).

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 (Iliad, Book, 349). The opposing gods ever mainly Apollo and Artemisia, twin brother and sister. They favored the Trojan side, and were constantly turning the tide in favor of the Trojan. 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, Patrols, tries to take the city of Troy.

Before Patrols was allowed to wear Achilles’ armor into battle, he promised only to drive the Trojan away from the ships and not to take an offensive against the city of Troy. Only the reflection Of Patrols by Polio’s shield three times prevents this. This lack of moderation shown by Patrols, as well as the deeming Of death before the end Of battle by fate, granted by Zeus, leads to his death (Iliad. Book, 338). Zeus serves as an enforcer of fate in the epic, giving no ground to anyone, even his blood relatives. Zeus also shows no mercy to mortals in The Iliad.

His own son, Sarandon. Was allowed to die at the hands of Patrols while Zeus looked on, unwilling to break fate and save even his own son. Zeus was debating whether or not to take him from the battlefield, but Hear convinced him by expressing the feelings other gods would have, namely anger. She told him that he would not be praised and that other gods would possibly take their loved ones out of battle as well (Iliad, Book XVI, 391). Zeus was confined to his own sorrow because he was not willing to take his son out of the battle.

Zeus was able, however, to have Apollo take his body trot the battlefield and take him back to Alkyl, where he could be buried as a hero (Iliad, kook XVI, 397). Patrols, another example somewhat discussed previously, was also fated to die when he took an offensive against the Trojan city. It was fated for him to die in battle, and it was Zeus “who then aroused the spirit in Patrols’ breast (Classics In Translation, 371 This led him into his inescapable fate, to which Zeus was unerring and emotionless.

Zeus will only enter into the tray of the Trojan War if fate is not being followed, and Vile only alter situations until fate has been met. At the end of the epic, when Achilles is finally roused back into battle, he turns the fate of the war so much to the Greek side that Zeus temporarily allows the other gods back into the war to ensure the city of Troy is only sacked when fate scares, and not a second earlier _ Zeus interferes in the war in areas that fate has nothing to do with, such as glory and honor.

Zeus helps Hector, the main hero Of the Trojan side, in his attainment Of honor when he takes the armor of Achilles off the body of Patrols. Only Achilles could fit into the incredible armor, but with Zeus’ intervention, Hector was enabled to fit into the armor as well, proving himself no less of a man than Achilles (Iliad, Book XVIII 408). Zeus knew of the fate of death of Hector at the hands of Achilles, and felt that the increase in honor of Hector was necessary.

Zeus also wanted a respectable and inerrable death for Hector, the Trojan hero, and was infuriated when Achilles decided to desecrate the body of Hector, This epic ends when Hectors body is ransomed back to the Trojan side to the pleasure of Zeus, in essence wrapping together the themes of the wrath of Achilles and the presence of all-powerful Zeus. Zeus has an overriding presence in The Iliad, sometimes not directly present, but always in the mix, He is the only presence in the epic that stresses the Greek ideals of moderation and fate.

The Greeks believed in the ideal of moderation and the essence that moderation was the key to becoming a better person. Fate also could not be avoided in the eyes of the Greeks, and when fate was trifled with, bad things happened, as they did when fate was trifled with in The Iliad. The presence of Zeus in the epic affected every action taken or avoided in some shape, way, or form. His allowance of other gods intervening in the war at times strengthens the idea that he is all-seeing all-powerful, due to the fact that the other gods’ intervention inevitably led fate back onto its original course.

In the eyes of the Greeks, the Trojan War was a spectacular event to the mortals, but to the gods, it was nothing more than a mere petty struggle. However, the idea of fate must always be kept under all circumstances, and Zeus was the overseeing power that ensured this in The Iliad. Chapter Ill Analysis Sub Topic I: Zeus’ Personal Intentions Zeus acted in a way that was not considered normal for the Greek Gods, because in Greek mythology the gods were always intervening. This was considered as a part of life.

Zeus was portrayed as a father figure because he was fair to both sides. Without him the Trojan War would become a battleground for the gods themselves. Zeus is befitting to his role because of his power which is greater Han all the other gods combined and also because of his experience. The main theme of the Iliad is the anger of Achilles. This is brought about by the irrational acts of Agamemnon the leader tooth Greeks. This causes the Greek army to suffer accordingly. There are also two other themes in the story. One is the Trojan War itself and the other is the will of Zeus.

The will of Zeus is so great that it is regarded as a theme in itself, These themes meet in the end resulting in Achilles wrath being curbed and he returns to battle. Zeus’ will was to allow things to happen in the way that fate decreed it should happen. Zeus stayed impartial to the sides in contrast to the other gods which include Athena, Hear, Poseidon and Hermes on the side of the Greeks and Aphrodite, Apollo, Artemisia and Let for the Trojan. A simple example of the typical behavior of a Greek god/goddess would be the actions of Hear.

When Paris decided that Aphrodite was the fairest god over Hear and Athena, Hear was infuriated and event to no end to help the Greeks. However Hear knows that Zeus is mightier than her and ceases speaking when Zeus threatens her with is invincible hands (Iliad, book l). Even after this Hear still tries to help the Greeks by tricking Zeus into sleeping tit her, while Poseidon influenced the war (Iliad, book XIV). An example fuses enforcing fate was when Patrols tried to take the city of Troy.

Before Patrols was allowed to wear Achilles armor into battle, he promised to only drive the Trojan away from the ships and not take an offensive to the city. Only the reflection of Patrols by Apollo shield prevents this. The lack of moderation by Patrols and the decision of death before the battle by fate granted by Zeus, leads to his death (Iliad, Book XVI), Zeus gives no ground to anyone, even his son Sarandon whom he let die under the hand of Patrols. Zeus however was able to make Apollo take out the body from the battlefield and send him back to Alkyl, where he would be buried a hero (Iliad, XVI).

Even in the example of Patrols it was already decided that he to die in battle and it was Zeus who “aroused the spirit in Patrols’ breast”. At the end of the story, Achilles goes back into battle he turns the fate of the war 50 much towards the Creek side that Zeus allowed the other gods to temporarily go back to war to ensure that Troy is only sacked when fate says 50 Zeus’ personal intentions lie in the areas where fate plays no part, such as glory and honor. Zeus helps Hector in the attainment of honor when he takes Achilles’ armor off Patrols and puts it on himself.

Only Achilles could fit in the incredible armor but with the help of Zeus, Hector fits in it as well, proving himself no less of a man than Achilles (Iliad, XVII). Zeus knew that Hector was going to die and that an increase in glory and honor was necessary. Zeus also intervened When Achilles, after killing Hector, decided to desecrate Hectors body. The epic ends when the body is ransomed back to Troy to the pleasure Of Zeus. This wraps up the themes Of the Will Of Zeus and the wrath of Achilles.

Zeus has an overriding presence and is the only presence which upheld the Greek ideals Of moderation and fate. This ends my analysis on the personal intentions of Zeus. Sub Topic II: How Zeus helped the Trojan One of the most notable ways that Zeus helped Troy was when Achilles overcame his wrath and decided to com back to the battlefield. When Achilles returned, his retaliation was so great. Because of this Zeus feared that Troy would be taken before it was the right time. In response to Achilles massive retaliation, Zeus allowed the gods to return to the battlefield.

This allowed more time for Troy and n the end allowed Troy to fall at the time fate decreed it to fall, Another way that Zeus helped Troy was when Hear seduced Zeus with glamour and love charms from Aphrodite. When Zeus saw her, he 50 overwhelmed and he said that she was more beautiful than the wife of Scion who bore him Proprietors, sweet Danna who bore him Peruses, Europe who bore him Minis and Arrhythmia’s, Smell who bore him Dionysus, Alkaline (Elegance) who bore him Heralds (Heralds), the queen Demeter, and glorious Let, mother of Apollo and Artemisia (Iliad, book 14).

While Zeus was asleep, Poseidon then went to help the Achaeans. Luckily for the Trojan, Poseidon bellowing and shrieking awakened Zeus. When Zeus awoke he realized Here’s treachery and Poseidon boldness. He then sent Iris to warn Poseidon of his folly. Poseidon saw the Wisdom of retreating and did so. Then Zeus sent Apollo to revive Hector and charge the Achaeans back to their ships, thus refinancing the battle. Zeus did several Other things for Troy, including raising the honor of his beloved Hector and sending Serenade’s body back to Alkyl where he would be buried a hero.

Sub Topic Ill: HOW Zeus helped the Achaeans Zeus helped the Achaeans directly by allowing fate to happen. That act in itself gave the Achaeans the victory because Troy was already fated to fall. If Zeus had gone against fate, the Achaeans would fail and Troy would not fall. Zeus also helped the Achaeans indirectly by falling for the charms Hear used on him. This gave Poseidon the chance to help the Achaeans turn away the Trojan who already reached the ships of the Achaeans, Another way that Zeus helped the Achaeans indirectly was by sending Agamemnon a sinister dream.

The dream then took the form of old Nester and said to Agamemnon “Sleeping, son of Eaters, tamer to horses? You should not sleep all night, not as a captain expansible for his men, with many duties, a great voice in the conferences of war. Follow me closely: am a messenger from Zeus, who is tar away but holds you dear. Prepare the troops,’ he said, ‘to take the field without delay: now may you take by storm the spacious town of Troy. The Olympian gods are of two minds no longer: Here’s pleading swayed them all, and bitter days from Zeus await the Trojan. Hold on to this message against forgetfulness in tides of day when blissful sleep is gone! ‘ Zeus intended to destroy the Achaeans in windrows by their ships but instead of this happening Achilles came back and the Achaeans succeeded. With this Zeus hit two birds with one stone. He did glorify Achilles because of his promise to Thesis and he also followed fate by allowing the Achaeans to triumph and overthrow Troy. Chapter IV Conclusion My conclusion on the role of Zeus is that Zeus is a moderator and overall director Of everything that occurs in the Story.

His job in the Story is to ensure that everything fate decreed would happen. As was stated before. Without Zeus’ presence the story would become a war playground for the gods, instead of the Achaeans and the Trojan. Unlike the other gods who wanted to help the sides hey were allied to Zeus’ interests lie in things that are not affected by fate like glory and honor. Compared to the other gods, Zeus stayed impartial to any side through the whole epic.

The other gods would scheme and make plans to give the side they allied with the upper hand, The result of Zeus’ impartiality was that Zeus was not considered as a typical Greek divinity. The more common action of a Greek divinity would be to destroy any person who infuriates him or her. A perfect example, albeit a commonly used one, would be Hear. When Paris chose Aphrodite over Hear and Athena, Hear was infuriated and went to no end to defeat the Trojan. Comments My comments on this book would be very positive.


I'm Sandulf

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out