Both Agamemnon and Odysseus, have wives besieged by suitors and a son who, logically, dislikes them. The story of Agamemnon parallels that of Odysseus. But Agamemnon's story turned negative: the suitor killed him and married his wife, though his son, Orestes, avenged his death. This foreshadowing effect is only a brief statement by Zeus in Zimmerman’s interpretation as time is a vital resource in a play while in an epic it is held in excess. Homer’s ability to enhance the epic with secondary characters came from years of oral history and time but pays off tenfold.
First, the greed of the epics’ heroic characters alters the journey and fates of the mortal characters. For example, in the beginning of The Iliad, Achilles is dishonored when his war prize, Briseis, is stolen by King Agamemnon. In turn, Achilles goes to his mother, Thetis, to utilize her immortal influence to help the Trojans defeat the Achaeans; “Let [Zeus] give help now to the Trojans. Let them drive the Greeks in among their very ships on the sand, killing them there” (Homer 43). In doing so, Achilles intends the Greeks will realize how important he is, and regret taking away Briseis.
Athena the goddess of wisdom exemplifies how gods intervene in mortals battles and change their actions. Achilles reminds Agamemnon that he has all the prizes of the battle up to the present. Soon Agamemnon agrees to give Chrysies back, but demands another woman as compensation and chooses the girl of Achilles, and takes Briseis. Then Achilles calls him shameless and greedy but Agamemnon responds saying he doesn't need Achilles. This announcement makes Achilles even angrier and he is on the point of drawing his sword to kill Agamemnon and telling Athena "I tell you this, and so help me it's the truth--he'll soon pay for his arrogance with his life!
A problem had arisen due to Agamemnon not honoring the supplication of Chryses, in which he asked for the return of his daughter. Due to this foolish mistake, the god Apollo began to fire his poisonous arrows at the Greeks to avenge Chryses, who was one of his priests (Homer 60). During the council, Achilles
In Sophocles’ Antigone, the king, Creon, is driven mad by the deaths he caused, those of his niece, son, and wife, and Antigone, Creon’s niece, is killed for doing what she believes to be right. He represents the consequences of their actions, Antigone’s death and Creon’s descent into madness, by mentioning of several Greek myths. He also uses these myths to illustrate the emotions that drive each character to act. Sophocles first introduces mythology in the prologue, when Antigone says to her sister, Ismene that she should bury her brother, a traitor, in spite of Creon’s edict, rather than spurn the, “laws of the god,”(Sophocles 63). She is driven to bury her brother both out of a sense of family loyalty, and a sense of duty to the gods.
Divine intervention is a phenomenon widely used in mythological epics. The gods play protagonistic and antagonistic roles; they essentially toy with the character until his fate is evident. Homer utilizes this right from the very beginning; we see Athena coming to the aid of Odysseus when Zeus refuses to have sympathy for him due to the fact that most heroes blame the Gods for their doom; “Aegisthus died the death he deserved… But brave Odysseus’ fate does break my heart” (p.4) Immediately, we witness the effect of divine intervention on Odysseus’ fate take hold. Even before we are introduced
Ares and Hephaestus fight over Aphrodite because of her glamor and beauty. This can also be seen among mortals. Paris wants Helen as his wife but she already married Agamemnon. However, this does not stop him from taking her, and “all [the] Achaeans fought at Troy, launching [their] headlong battles just for [Helen’s] sake” (4.160-162). The Trojan War involves several men, including Odysseus, who risks their lives just for one woman.
Hera was angry that Hercules had a family and was happy. She drove him mad, making him kill Megara and his three children. Once he realized what he did, he went to Apollo (some sources say the Oracle of Delphi) and begged for penance. Apollo told Hercules to do these tasks as a punishment for his wrongs, so that the evil might be cleansed from his spirit. Hercules also had to go to the city of Tiryns, ruled over by Eurystheus.
Mistakes in Thebes In the classic play Antigone by Sophocles, two characters are established, Antigone and King Creon. When the two characters are juxtaposed due to Antigone being loyal to her family and Creon being loyal to his state leads to fatal consequences. The tragic hero depicted in the play is Creon due to the fact that he is a man of high noble power and his epic and tragic downfall is foreshadowed after the conflict between his rule and Antigone’s beliefs. Creon, the king of an ancient city thebes, is characterized as a manipulative, ruthless and has many other problems. However, his hubris is Creon’s biggest hamartia.
But she can say or do whatever she wants.” (Iliad 5. 930-938). This was spoken by the god of war himself, Ares, right after he was wounded by Diomedes during the war between the Greeks and Trojans. By simply reading the quote, it is gleaned that Ares is complaining to Zeus about how the gods, in return for helping mortals, gets hurt by them. In this instance, Ares argues that he simply wants to “help out men;” to simply show them kindness.