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Iliad_11-14 (1).docx

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Honors Program
HONR 1101
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Emily McClure The Iliad Books 11-14 Throughout the entirety of The Iliad thus far, it is clear that the gods have the upper hand. They have the ability to determine the outcome of mortal events with their divine powers. They help the humans, and they deceive them. They foretell the fates of certain humans, and they can change their lives in almost any way that they desire. One would think that these gods and goddesses would be perfect beings. Not having much knowledge about Greek mythology before reading The Iliad, I always imagined the gods to be omniscient and omnipotent. I imagined Mount Olympus as an idyllic and harmonic society filled with faultless gods. It does not take long to realize that the image of the gods that I had expected is absurdly far from the reality of the situation. The relationship and distinction between the gods and humans is strange and unclear. It is not defined in black and white, but all shades of grey. The gods demand to be respected and adored by the humans, and indeed are highly regarded, but it does not seem to me like the gods deserve as much respect as they are given. As previously stated, they are not perfectly pure divinities. In fact, the gods are far from rational and levelheaded. Ironically, it seems as though the gods are, at times, more unreasonable and more effected by emotional desires than many of the mortal characters. The gods are selfish, jealous, and often overwhelmingly hubristic. The immortals display many of the same personality traits as humans and even experience the same emotions and needs as well.At times, it is hard to determine a significant difference between divinity and mortal. For example, Hera is manipulative and deceitful for her own selfish gains. In Book XIV, she manipulatesAphrodite, Sleep, and Zeus in order to satisfy her own personal affinity with theAchaean soldiers. She even goes to such an extreme to deceive Aphrodite to bestow her with more deceitful tactics. Hera asks her, “‘Will you give heed to me, and do as I say, / and not be difficult? Even though you are vexed / that I give aid and comfort to Danaans / as you do to the Trojans’” (XIV, 214-217). She lies to Aphrodite and pretends to be benign and innocent in her endeavors, although truly she plans to help theAchaeans a
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