It can be said that Homer’s Iliad presents variations of different relationships between gods and men. The whole essence of the Iliad’s story was caused by the intervention of gods in the business of men. As it is also between the struggles and challenges between gods against gods, men have become the pawns who take action for these gods. It is arguable that these gods caused the war at Troy. It can be said that there have been many different times that these gods acted upon the presence of men just to fulfill their own personal wants and needs.
As it is a rule that no god shall hurt a mortal, gods have turned to using other men to fight for them. The provocative and influential strategies of gods that make men follow are the likely source of causes that resulted to the war at Troy. THE ILIAD As it is accounted for, the Trojan War was the cause of one Trojan stealing the wife of a Greek. Helen to be exact, she was called the face that launched a thousand ships. But to further give understanding about the cause of this war, there is a must to examine the beginning of it all. There were three goddesses who wanted to take the name as the fairest of them all.
There was a golden apple that had “for the fairest” written. Three gods vied for the position and they were Aphrodite, Hera and Pallas Athena. They all wanted Zeus to judge for them but Zeus instead referred Paris who was staying near Troy and guarding his father’s herd of sheep. The contest began and the three goddesses decided that whoever Paris shall give the golden apple shall be the fairest of the three. They battled each other with three different bribes just to get Paris’ nod and the golden apple. Hera made a promise to Paris that he would become Lord of Europe and Asia.
Athena on the other hand offered that the Trojans shall win against the Greeks and lay Greece in ruins. But Aphrodite’s offer was different. She offered Paris to have the fairest woman in the world. And as it turned out, Paris chose the offer of Aphrodite. That fairest woman in the whole world was Helen. Aphrodite helped Paris to seek Helen and take her home to Troy. And the rest as they say is history. The Trojan war begins and the Greeks set sail to help Menelaus to gain her wife back. And so the battle of man due to a woman began. The war at Troy was one of the most epic stories that the whole world has ever known.
At one side is a city built with high and potent walls while on the other side is a race of people who have been trained for war and has a number of heroes of different caliber. THE SIDES OF THE GODS & GODDESSES The war had reached Olympus and the gods had their own sides. Aphrodite was of course on the side of Paris and the Trojans. Hera and Athena was for the side of the Greeks. Ares, always took sides with Aphrodite. While as the Greeks were sea people, Poseidon sided on them. Apollo on the other hand cared for Hector and Apollo’s sister, Artemis sided with him too.
This siding of gods and goddesses only shows their love for competition and they want to gain an edge over each other. It is evident that these actions by the gods and goddesses only proves that their favoritism of humans both displays a negative and positive effect. Most favored men are the heroes who are capable enough to deliver for them in battle and in other ways also. The relationship of gods and men define a both give and take relationship. With either of the two benefiting from each other’s assistance. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN APHRODITE & PARIS
As it would be evidently blatant to visualize and conceptualize, the whole essence of the Trojan War was arguably caused by the Judgment of Paris. This judgment which was brought forth in favor of Aphrodite created a relationship between her and Paris. It turned out that Aphrodite protected Paris all throughout the War. There was one instance where the men who were the main concern of the war fought in the middle. Paris on the side of the Trojans while Menelaus for the side of the Greeks, these two fought toe-to-toe despite Paris being the lesser of a fighter than Menelaus.
When Paris got injured, Aphrodite took him and hid him in a cloud of mist which made him disappear among the crowd. The goddesses’ care for Paris was an act of subordination. Aphrodite needed Paris to gain his judgment but on the other hand, Paris needed Aphrodite to gain Helen. Despite seeming as if the relationship is mutual, it can still be very questionable due to the fact that Paris and all the Trojan men are fighting not just for their lives but also for the glory of Aphrodite. This is one evidence that men are pawns to gods and goddesses alike.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ACHILLES AND ATHENA As the same can be said of Paris and Aphrodite’s relationship, Athena and Achilles also have a bond that correlates goddess and man. Just like Odysseus and Athena’s relationship, the goddess has become a constant helper of Achilles. There is one instance where Achilles was mad at Agamemnon and Athena was the one who calmed Achilles. During the fight of Achilles and Hector, Athena also gave a helping hand to Achilles. These actions of Athena somehow displays a positive assistance to man and also seems to showcase a pure intent of helping man.
But it is still questionable whether why these gods and goddesses provide help. The intentions and manifestations still somehow produces a personal gain with the use of mortals. Athena also had the same relationship with Odysseus, who is the most cunning hero in all of the Greek fleet. During the Iliad and also after the Iliad, Odysseus was assisted by Athena until he reached back his home Ithaca. All in all, Athena served as the most helpful goddess of all. Her unequaled help and assistance has made Athena as one of the most revered goddesses of all time.
She has been almost the most likable goddess in all of Greek Mythology. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ZEUS AND ACHILLES If there is one odd relationship between a god and a man, it would have to be between Zeus and Achilles. Their weird and sometimes love or hate relationship was not caused by themselves but by the mother of Achilles, Thetis, and the queen of Zeus, which is Hera. Even though Zeus loved to favor the Trojans, he just couldn’t find a way to prove his side due to Hera. Hera used her female characteristics to persuade Zeus.
Zeus figured out that the Greeks would be weak with Achilles out of the battle. He sent a lying dream to Agamemnon somehow showcasing him victory if he barged with attacks right then and there while Achilles stayed on his tent. There is also this one instance were Achilles cried to his mother Thetis and in turn, she approached Zeus to favor the Trojans until Achilles regains his rights. Achilles would probably be the most favored mortal of Zeus due to Thetis, Achilles’ mother. The roles of both Zeus and Achilles in the Iliad served instrumental despite the former almost taking no sides.
Achilles’ undaunted courage and fierceness somehow impressed the gods, no matter what side they were in. Achilles’ relationship with Zeus somehow seems different from other god and man relationships because Achilles requests for favors while the god Zeus grants him those favors. It’s the other way around with regards to other man and god relationships. Achilles was meant to die young but his courage and legacy also meant to live on strong. What he did in the Trojan War almost presented a god-like quality that made him revered more than any other character in the whole of the Iliad.
There are also many other stories that display the relationship between men and gods. There are those which shows a genuine relationship while there are also those which stresses the ability of gods and goddesses to take advantage of humans. There is really a questionable notion on why gods help men. Is it just for personal gains or does it really show truth and honesty for caring for the well-being of man? This question is the ultimate question among all. It can be pointed out that gods have more than men, they have immortality, powers, and other capabilities that men were dying to have.
Seeking out the help of man is a controversial idea. PAWNS OF GODS & GODDESSES All in all, the help provided by the gods and goddesses showcase a controversial cause of intention. The fact that men are used for violence to pursue victory for the glory of these gods and goddesses only professes the rational explanation regarding men as pawns of these gods and goddesses. The might and magic owned by these gods and goddesses provide power to provoke and control humans’ rational behavior and even deter their principles and beliefs.
It is not quite surprising that men succumbed to these gods and goddesses. Men are mortal beings who do not have the equal rights and benefits unlike the immortal gods and goddesses. There have been different stories in mythology where gods take advantage of men through the use of their extraordinary powers and capabilities. Homer’s Iliad is no difference. CONCLUSION To evaluate the over-all relationship between men and gods or goddesses, there are various differences and there is such a huge difference with regards to specific personalities, most especially the heroes.
The gods and goddesses favored heroes such as Achilles, Hector, Odysseus and many other more due to the fact that they are the ones who can deliver what is expected of them and that they can also be utilized effectively in times where they are badly needed. These heroes are the men used by gods and goddesses to fight their fights. At Mt. Olympus, the vanity of gods and goddesses create conflicts between themselves. These conflicts results to challenges or battles of supremacy.
But in order to fulfill victory over the other, the gods and goddesses utilize men to fight for their fights. This relationship between gods and men is a complicated concept. It’s hard to determine the genuine purpose of a god or a goddess due to their sly characteristics. Most gods use men for acts that they can’t directly use to harm or win against another competitive god or goddess. The rule that no god or goddess can harm a human and also bring forth war has been trimmed down to resulting to use humans themselves as the instruments of the gods and goddesses.
It is hard to diminish the purest intent of gods and there are only a few like Athena who delivers wonderful assistance and positive help to most humans especially to the heroes like Odysseus and Achilles. All in all, the relationship of gods and men is not clear. There is still a vagueness of reason whether it is pure or not. But nonetheless, as seen in the Iliad of Homer, gods and goddesses have utilized the potential of men to serve for them and gain their wants and needs.
Somehow it also shows a mutual reciprocation, the gods and goddesses assist man to gain glory, while man assists the gods and goddesses to conquer victory. Not all results show a positive effect but nonetheless they profess a clear utilization. Without these actions by gods and goddesses and also without the acceptance of man to obey or have a relationship with certain gods, then the Iliad might have been written in a very different way.
Homer. (1990). The Iliad. trans. Robert Fagles. New York: Penguin.Sample Essay of StudyFaq.com