The Gods Role in The Iliad
The gods in The Iliad are very greedy, self-centered, vain, malicious, and two-faced. Homer does a very good job of showing us this throughout the entire epic poem, and he does it in such a way so that anyone who reads this can understand. All of the gods that get involved in this war have their own self-serving motives behind all of their interference.
Right in the very beginning of the epic poem, one of Apollo's priests prays to him to send a plague onto the Achaeans because they will not give him back his daughter. Apollo decides to go ahead and do what the priest asks because the priest is loyal and if he does do this then the priest will sacrifice many things in Apollo's name. The Achaeans gave the daughter back and sacrificed many bulls in Apollo's name while Apollo heard, "those young Achaean warriors singing out his power, / and Apollo listened, his great heart warm with joy" (I. ll. 565-566). It shows really that he did not do this just because the priest asked him to, but because he is greedy and wants more sacrifices and followers so that he can become more powerful among the gods. He also gets his sister Artemis to join the fighting on the Trojans side just because he has much influence over what she does.
We then have Achilles praying to his mother, Thetis, to have her speak to Zeus and get him to punish the Achaeans for this stupidity done by the commander, Agamemnon. Thetis of course agrees to talk to Zeus because Achilles is her son and she wants him to be safe and get what he wants. Thetis talks to Zeus and he gives his approval that it will be done. Thetis does this as well because she knows the prophecy that if Achilles fights in this war then he will die because she says that Achilles is , "Doomed to a short life, you(Achilles) have so little time" (I. l. 496). She does not want her son to die so she tells Achilles to, "
stay here by the fast ships, rage on at the Achaeans, / just keep clear of every foray...
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