The Pride of Zeus

Topics: Greek mythology, Apollo, Zeus Pages: 6 (2473 words) Published: February 10, 2011
In Greece and Asia Minor around 2000 B.C. there existed a common belief in a group of deities. Of this group of deities were twelve Olympians who were immortal. From that group of Olympians came the most dominant and commanding God known to immortals and mortals alike. That Olympian god was Zeus; the son of Titans Cronus and Rhea. When Zeus had grown to maturity, he waged war against his father with his disgorged brothers and sisters as allies. The battle was of epic proportions, Zeus fighting from Mt. Olympus, Cronus from Mt. Othrys. This is Mark Morford’s interpretation of Zeus’ rise to power, which he’d argue is a story of, “The Hero and the Quest” (Morford, 76). While there is no arguing Zeus’ supremacy, it is easy to argue his intentions. Zeus has been labeled as a selfish God; a God who looks only after his bests interests. There is no arguing Zeus is an egocentric God. But being the most powerful God, it’s difficult to place blame on him. However, there is more to Zeus than his powerful facade. Zeus may always be looking out for his best interests as seen in the poem, Leda and the Swan, but he is aware of the existence of the other Gods and mortals. It is because of this that I believe Zeus not only tries to appease himself, but also every other living soul on Earth at the time, whether they be brothers or sisters, sons and daughters, or Gods and mortals. While others may declare these are patterns of evilness and destructiveness, I believe it’s more than anything the pride of Zeus which justifies his actions. In Homer’s great Epic, “The Iliad,” the presence of Zeus affected every action taken or avoided in some shape, way, or form. His allowance of other gods intervening in the war at times strengthens the idea that he is all-seeing and all-powerful, due to the fact that the other gods' intervention inevitably led fate back onto its original course. But, we’re talking about Zeus; God of all Gods. He refuses to be undermined, and if ever he needed could destroy the Earth with a single creation. That frightening thought was almost made a reality in Hesiod’s “Pandora” from his poems Works and Days. In the myth, Zeus creates the first woman, who is capable of the destruction of mankind. Obviously Zeus is a very contradictive character. On the one hand, he possesses a number of powers that mankind can benefit from, as seen in his role in, “The Iliad.” On the other hand, he owns a number of negative qualities, among which greed probably the most significant one, made significant in his role in, “Pandora.” Through it all, Zeus remains true to himself. And while at times he may be viewed as chaotic, the prideful Zeus never backs downs from any God or any mortal. In the era of Homer, divine intervention was thought to be typical, and one of his foremost works, “The Iliad,” reflects this. Nearly all of the Greek gods are involved in the outcome of the Trojan War, which happens to be the background story of this epic poem. The gods are used by Homer to add twists on an otherwise standard plot of war. Zeus, very untypical of a Greek god in his lack of involvement in the Trojan War for his own reasons, was portrayed as the father figure, being impartial and fair to both sides of the war. He remains this way to serve as a check for each god's involvement in the war. Without his presence at the head of the inner circle of Olympus, it is likely that the activity of the Trojan War would become chaotic, possibly even becoming a recreational war for the gods. With Zeus's majestic power, above all of the other gods combined, along with his experience, he is quite befitting to his role in the storyline of The Iliad. The role of Zeus in Homer's Iliad is one of moderator and the overall director of all that occurs in this story. His position was to ensure that whatever fate decreed would happen. Without his presence, the story would likely become a war for the gods instead of the Greeks and Trojans. Zeus stayed impartial throughout almost...

Cited: Homer, and W. H. D. Rouse. The Iliad. New York: Signet Classics, 2007. Print.
Hesiod, Catherine Schlegel, Henry Weinfield, and Hesiod. Theogony ; And, Works and Days. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 2006. Print.
Hesiod. Theogony. Trans. by M.L. West. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008
Morford, Mark P. O., and Robert J. Lenardon. Classical Mythology. New York [etc.: Oxford UP, 2003. Print.
Yeats, William B. Leda and the Swan. Print.
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