The Interference Of Zeus Essay

2055 words - 8 pages

The god of mortals and immortals, Zeus, is mentioned on almost every single page in The Iliad. In the ancient society of the Greeks, they practiced polytheism, which means they worshipped more than one god (Speilvogel 364). Zeus was the son of the titan Cronus and he was basically the god of the weather. He had the ability to strike with lightning bolts. The Trojan War was between Greece and Troy. However, it was not only fought by mere mortals, but by immortals too, fighting for their own personal agendas. Every god and goddess interfered in some form in the war, but some did more than others. On the Greek side was Hera, Pallas Athena, Poseidon, Hermes and Hephaestus (20.36-40). On the Trojan side was Ares, Apollo, Artemis, Leto, Xanthus, and Aphrodite (20.41-43). However, some gods like Zeus did not officially take sides, but by their actions, someone could deduce what side they were on. In the Trojan War, Zeus, the most feared of all the gods, impacted the Trojan War definitively more than all the other gods; he did this both directly and indirectly.
The Iliad is an epic poem and is one of the earliest works of ancient Greek literature (Murnaghan 2). According to most scholars, it was written by Homer in ancient Greece (Spievogel 47). The Iliad was considered by the Greeks to be Homer’s major work (Rieu 5). There is some debate as to who Homer really was, or if he was even responsible for The Iliad, but this had no bearing on the fact that The Iliad was important in Greek society (Murnaghan 8). The Iliad was most likely an oral story preserved over time and finally written down at the end of the Dark Ages (Murnaghan 3). It covers only a small portion of the ten year Trojan War. The Trojan War began over Helen, the wife of Greek chieftain, Menelaus, when she was stolen by Prince Paris of Troy (Murnaghan 6). In ancient Greece, people valued honor, and The Iliad exhibited the characteristics of gaining honor through war (Spielvogel 49).
Zeus called the gods to meetings and commissioned other gods to do “dirty work” for him. For instance, he asked his daughter, Athena, to persuade the Trojans to break peace with the Greeks (4.80-82). Zeus needed to get the fighting commenced so that he could fulfill a prior promise to Thetis, Achilles’ mother (Kip 15). Following Zeus’ orders, Athena convinced a fool on the Trojan side to take a shot at Menelaus, son of Atreus. Athena redirected the arrow to not be fatal since Zeus’ objective was not to terminate anyone this time. Because the shot was fired, peace disolved and war raged again. Zeus’ orders led to deaths that could have otherwise been prevented by peace. Again, Zeus sent Athena to save Achilles. Achilles was on the Greek side, but Zeus pitied him since he had just lost Patroclus, his dear friend, and he was grieving and not eating. Zeus asked Athena to give him some ambrosia so he would not weaken with hunger (19.362-370). Zeus was the reason all this was able to happen.
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