Divine Intervention In Homer's Epic Poem, The Iliad

2205 words - 9 pages

    The gods and goddesses that the Greek people believe in make up the

Greek mythology studied today.  These divine characters represent a family

living on Mount Olympus who intervene frequently in the lives of the human

characters in Greek plays.  They are omnipresent, for they are always observing

mans actions and working through human nature.  The gods are a higher power, and

provide explanations for otherwise unexplainable events.  The gods help humans

in trouble and give them guidance about the future.  The Olympians influence men

on earth both psychologically and physically.  In Homer's epic poem, The Iliad,

the intervention of such divine powers as Athena, Apollo, and Zeus play

significant roles in the lives of the characters and the events of the Greek-

Trojan War.


      Athena plays a very influential role in the Greek-Trojan War.  She is

the most constant divine supporter of the Greeks and divine enemy of the Trojans.

Athena's function is to be a goddess of pro-Greek warfare.  She came to the aid

of the Greeks many times throughout the war.  For instance, Athena came down

from the sky to stop Achilleus from attacking Agamemnon (Steiner).  Andre

Michalopoulous confirms this action by quoting what Athena says to Achilles :

       I came from heaven to stay thine anger, if perchance though wilt
       hearken to me, being sent forth of the white-armed goddess Hera,
       that loveth you twain alike and careth for you.  Go to now, cense
       from strife,  and let not thine hand draw the sword.(65)

      Achilles listens to Athena's request, and therefore he returns his sword

to its sheath, and withdraws from battle.  Athena also assists Achilles in his

battle with Hektor.  Malcolm Steiner quotes, "After deceiving Hektor into

fighting Achilles,she comes to his aid by  returning his sword to him" (244).

This intervention is the greatest assist of a divine power to a human being in

The Iliad.

      Athena also plays an influential role in the battles of Diomedes.

Martin Mueller reveals, "Athena is closest to Diomedes.  " She is with him at

the beginning and end of his aristeia and she addresses him without disguise"

(136).  Athena also urges Diomedes to fight Aphrodite.  With this command, she

removes the cloud from his eyes which made him able to see the gods.

Furthermore, as Robert Graves states, "She put fresh strength into his legs and

arms," which allowed him to sustain in battle with Aphrodite (104).  Athena

instructs Diomedes not to attack any other gods; but, Diomedes does not take her

advice, and fights against Apollo and other gods, which causes Diomedes to

retreat until he is saved by being reunited with Athena.  This powerful goddess

assistsd Diomedes greatly as she does the other characters in The Iliad.

      Another Greek warrior who...

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