The Gods In The Iliad

781 Words4 Pages
In the Iliad, the gods did not have one definite and specific role to play, alternately serving as counselors and deceivers, mediators and warmongers. However, whatever they do and accomplish seems to spring from whims, favors asked of them and slights done to them, love for people who catch their fancy andfuryagainstpeoplewhohaveincurredtheir(quitehasty)wrath. Thisbeingsaid,weshouldnotattempt to present them with the title of “unselfish deities” or box them into any single role, however generous or self-serving. Their motives are too scrambled for us to completely pin down the part they play. Let us, for the present, merely state that the gods of the Iliad can be the stimuli and the limitation of human achievement, powerful arbitrary creatures that can help and hinder according to their moods and caprices. While in the narrative they serve many purposes, from provoking more fighting to determining the outcome of a battle. They stir up things unnecessarily and aid in the direst of circumstances- true plot- movers who influence the story and allow it to “flow along”. Yet even outside of the story, they serve as a moral reflection and as vessels of self-knowledge to the audience. By studying the gods, we study ourselves, recognizing ourselves when we examine their actions, which are so often controlled by personal, selfish motives. And that is another role of the…show more content…
The role of the gods is complicated, the gods’ motives are often hard to decipher, their actions are often incomprehensible. However, without them, the Iliad would be a very, very tame story that would have ended at Book III. They add a depth of implausibility, power, and intricate, twisted human (godly?) nature to the story. They provide complication and entertainment, richness to the plot that only fallible, all- powerful beings can give. They give us insight into our own natures, and at the same time, amuse us. The gods, in their inscrutable fickleness teach us lessons, and lend profundity to
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