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Homer's treatment of the Olympian gods and goddess in The Iliad

Gods and goddesses play an important role in Homers iliad. Homer anthropomorphizes these gods and goddesses with all human emotions anger, jealousy love etc. The only difference is that gods and goddesses are immortals while humans are mortals. In The iliad we find more than a dozen gods and goddess some of whom support the Greek soldiers and some support the Trojans. There is also conflict among the gods and goddess. Zeus has the supreme power who controls others. But he also needs to comply with fate or Providence. Zeus, king of Olympian gods is fundamentally pro-Trojan but agrees to honour Achilles. Thetis, the sea goddess is Achilles mother and she behaves like a human mother caring for her child. Hera, wie of Zeus, supports the Achaeans because she was defeaterd by Aphrodite in the beauty contest. Athene too goes against the Trojans because Paris refused to give his verdict for her offer/ favour. The sea god Poseidon supports the Achaeans. Aphrodite tries heart and soul to save Paris. All the gods and goddesses in The Iliad do not hesitate to take part in the war directly, though none of them is a good fighter in th battle field. Their direct participation in the war often makes them  the funny and ridiculous. In Book XXI, gods fought among themselves. Athena defeats Ares and Aphrodite while Hera drives Artemis from the battle field; Poseidon challenges Apollo.Homeric gods are superior  but they are subject to abide by providence. Zeus even can not do whatever he likes.He must uphold the verdict of fate ot destined. Thus in book XVI "zeus bemoans it is destined" that serpedon must die during his better with patroclus and here we can know that zeus does not determine the fate. on one occasion when zeus was going to reverse someone 's destiny here reminds him that it would be unwise to defy destiny, for it would create disorder among the goods.
gods and goddess in The Iliad

Homeric gods are immortals but they are subject to undergo sufferings.In book V, we know that Aphrodite was stabbed by diomedes.Diomedes pierced her flesh where the palm joins the wrist. Out came the goddess' immortal blood. Aphrodite gave a piercing scream and dropped her son. In the same book (Book v)  with the help of Athene, Diomedes also stabbed the war god Ares who gave a yell as loud as the war-cry of nine or ten thousand men clashing  on the field of battle.

Obviously, the humanness of gods is evident in the most mundane details. Gods in The liad, quarrel, as all famili do. They have a daily life. After a day's work they enjoy an evening meal (ambrosia) and drink (nectar). They are engaged in teasing fond of entertainment and go to bed with their spouses. The interact with humans and even exchange hot words with them. Mortals often are not respectful while talking to gods. Thus when Aphrodite asked Helen to make love to Paris, Helen refuses and says to Aphrodite in anger: No, go and sit with him yourself. Forget you a goddess. Go and pamper him and one day he may make you his wife or his concubine.

Gods are very much concerned about human affairs. There is also a give and take' relationship. Humans worship gods or offer sacrifices to them and in exchange they get the support from them. In Book I when Apollo's priest Chryses was in trouble and failed to ransom his daughter from Agamemnon, he prayed to Apollo thus:.......if ever I burnt your offerings of the fat thighs of bulls or goats, grant this wish. Make the Greeks pay with your arrows (of plague) for my tears. Hearing this prayer Apollo came down in fury and shot arrows of plague to Greek camps.Homer's gods and goddess in The Iliad form a patriarchal society or an organization. They exhibit all kinds of human behaviour. They could be loving and generous, wise and forbearing. They could also be base, fickle and vile and they could be quick to anger. This treatment of the Olympian deities in The Iliad is purely Homeric.


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