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The Gods In Homer's The Iliad And The Odyssey

1408 words - 6 pages

The Gods in Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey

The stories told in the Iliad and Odyssey are based on stories handed down over several generations, for they preserve (as we have seen) memories of an already quiet far distant past. The two pomes show clear connection in their language and style, in the manner in which their incidents presented, and in the combination of agreement with level, which distinguish their creation.

The work was written by one author but gave two diverse views on the nature of the Olympian Gods, their relationship to humankind, and the general lot of mortals throughout their all too brief lives. For the reason that of these differences, both novels end up sending, different messages about life in general. In the Iliad, the supernatural denizens of Olympus are representing as false, power-hungry, and above all unreliable beings that are always at each other's throats. Factionalism abounds, and neither the bonds of marriage, nor the ties of relationship can contain keep it under control. A great example is when Ares betrays his mother, Hera, and his sister, Athene, by aiding the Trojans instead of the Greeks. When he is revealed, Athena strikes him down in battle through Diomedes. In the Odyssey, however, the Gods of Olympus display far more unity and civility toward each other. They argue and disagree, but their disagreements are never carried out to the extremes found in the Iliad. When Poseidon punishes Odysseys for blinding the Cyclopes, Athena does not take revenge. Even though Odyssey's is her favorite human, she respects Poseidon's right to punish him. In addition, the betrayal among the Gods that is so prevalent in the Iliad, is nowhere to be found in the Odyssey.

In Iliad, Hera, enters into a plan with Poseidon, Aphrodite, and Morpheus to aid the Greeks by putting Zeus to sleep thus rendering him unable to help his beloved Trojans. Not anything like this event can be found in the Odyssey. The role of the Gods in the affairs of humanity is much greater in the Iliad then in the Odyssey. In the Iliad, the Olympians are continually interfering in the conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans. At best, they view mortals as hilarious pets to be cared for, played with, and loved. At worst, humans are just trade in to be dragging your feet around, sacrificed, and set against each other in order to resolve inter-Olympian ego-clashes.
When Zeus wants the Trojans to win, he will turn nature against the Greeks, slay one of their heroes, or send one of their loyal immortals down to turn the tide of battle. If Hera wants to get back at him, she will do the same thing against Zeus's people, the Trojans. In the Odyssey, things are very different. The Gods of Olympus generally will not interfere unless they are asked to such as when the Cyclopes pray to the wrath of Poseidon after he is blinded by Odysseys. The Gods do not automatically view all humans as simple as supplicant whelps, whichever. Athena's conversation...

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