Demigods in Iliad

Topics: Greek mythology, Iliad, Trojan War Pages: 4 (1435 words) Published: November 17, 2010

In The Iliad by Homer, the ancient Greek gods have many extraordinary abilities. They take pleasure in eternal youth by consuming ambrosia and nectar, resisting disease, and influencing the tides of war between Trojan and Achaian soldiers. In addition to these supernatural powers, the gods have the benefit of immortality. Immortality is the birthright that primarily separates gods from mortals and thus, it is the most precious of supernatural powers. Gods such as Zeus, Thetis, and Aphrodite have sexual relationships with mortals and their children are born as demigods: half human, half god. These hybrid offspring have extraordinary strength and enjoy an advantage over their human counterparts. For example, the demigods are able to receive assistance during battle from their immortal parents and oftentimes are saved from death; however, they do not possess immortality. While the gods are able to intervene and help their children during desperate moments, they are ultimately unable to alter their children’s fate. A lack of control over fate forces the demigods, along with their parents, to face adversity during the fierce battle between the Achaians and Trojans. Although the demigods enjoy superiority over regular mortals, they, like normal humans, have an unalterable fate and, as a result, their immortal parents endure physical and emotional pain for them. The Gods’ inability to interfere with their children’s destinies highlights the demigod’s main mortal characteristic: they are destined to die.

Aphrodite, a goddess, helps her son Aineias, while he is fighting against Diomedes, a mortal, and therefore, she is wounded by Diomedes’ spear. After Athene instills fury within Diomedes, he stabs Aineias and as Aineias falls to the ground, Aphrodite intervenes to save his life. At this moment, “Aineias lord of men might have perished/ had not Aphrodite…with her white robe thrown in a fold in front shielded him/…She then carried her beloved son out of the...

Bibliography: Homer, and Richmond Alexander Lattimore. The Iliad of Homer. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1951. Print.
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