Essay Assignment: Iliad and/or Iphigenia
The Whisper of the Gods
In the book The Iliad, the mortals act as pawns to the all-seeing gods, stationed on top of Mount Olympus. In the battle for Troy, fought between the Achaeans of Argos and the Trojans of Troy, each god, having pre-determined notions as to which army should win the war, interferes regularly with the men in battle. Although mortals are capable of making their own decisions, through the prolonging of events, and emotions such as hatred and revenge, the gods in The Iliad can persuade mortals to fulfill battle outcomes, which the gods find desirable. One can determine when a mortal makes a decision on his own accord. One can also recognize whether venom or nectar has been poured into a mortal’s ear to appease a certain god’s desires. The latter of these two options happens frequently in this book to the point where it is no longer a battle of undecided outcomes. The reader can assume which army will be victorious before the battles have begun. Although this method of story telling sacrifices the element of surprise for the reader, we are attracted to continue reading to see if the mortals can disobey the gods’ will. Throughout this book, the gods twist and turn many of the characters’ plans, and give them new ideas, which the characters would never have thought of. Using this power to their full advantage, the gods sway each battle and spark any outburst they see fitting. By easily extending a battle or halting it with a simple disguise and whisper in a soldier’s ear, to giving courage to fight on towards imminent death, the gods interfere in a mortal battle out of pity, hatred, and revenge.
The gods in The Iliad can interfere in many aspects of a mortal’s life including prolonging the battles they are fighting. For example, the passages on page 145 of The Iliad, show Zeus debating whether or not to start the fighting again or to end the war after Aphrodite saves Paris from Menelaus’ final deathblow...