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The Iliad – an epic of Achilles

The Iliad is an epic that tells the story of how Achilles avenges the death of his friend Petrocolus. Many of the events that took place were influenced by the Gods. The God either had control of the situation or took control of the situation at some point in time, not allowing the free will of the mortals to interfere with what was destined to happen. In the beginning of the Iliad, Agamemnon who the commander-in-chief of the Achaean forces, takes a liking to the Chryseis and takes her away from the her father.

Chryses, Chryseiss father, visits Agamemnon in hopes of making an exchange for his daughter. This confrontation did not end the way Chryses had hoped, only leading to Agamemnon threatening to kill Chryses. In pleading for help, Chryses prays to the God Apollo for vengeance and justice. Apollo was very angry at Agamemnons lack of respect for Chryses. The result of Apollos anger led to the God raining arrows down upon the Achaeans. These arrows caused a mysterious plague that lasted for nine days, causing men and animals to die mysteriously.

Once Chryseis is back with her father, Chryses prays to Apollo to stop the plague and the he does. The God controlled the situation and he stopped events from happening when it was time, not the mortals time. The example just given is one of the many ways that the Gods intervened with the mortals lives. The mortals tried to take situations into their own hands and make them turn out the way they wanted them to. However, lessons were taught and the Gods always got their way. Another example of the Gods intervening is when Achilles was so angry at Agamemnon.

Agamemnon was forced to give Chryseis back to her father and was not pleased about this. In order for Agamemnon to be compensated for his loss he demands that he be given Briseis, Achilles girl. Achilles was so angry at the very thought of Agamemnon getting what was rightfully his that his only thought was to kill Agamemnon. After his first stride was taken to seize Agamemnon, the goddess Hera sends Athena down to stop Achilles. Achilles was the only person that could see Athena and she tells him not to kill the king, justice for Achilles will be served in due time.

This goddess actions stopped an event that could have ended up in a tragic happening that would have caused more grief that it was worth. After Briseis is handed over to Agamemnon, Achilles calls out to his mother, the goddess Thetis. His mother could hear his weeping tears and she emerged from the sea. Achilles pleads with his mother that justice be served. He asks that Zeus might intervene so that the Achaeans might know suffering as long as Achilles does not fight. Zeus grants Achilles request and the Achaeans suffer tremendously throughout the war.

As the heated battle of the Trojan War continues, the Achaeans continue to have bad luck. Iris is sent by the goddess Hera to tell Achilles to rise up and defend Petrocolus. Achilles has no armor but the mere sight of Petrocolus will cause him pain and the will to fight. Athena surrounds him with a flame of fire and Achilles lets a war cry out that alerts his Achaeans and terrifies the Trojans. The result of Achilles actions led to the body of Petrocolus being brought back to him and Hera commands the sun to set early, stopping the fighting early that day.

In the fight between Achilles and Hector, yet another goddess intervenes. Achilles fought Hector with no help from other Achaeans. The only reason he wanted to be helped was in the case that he was being robbed of his glory. After Achilles had chased Hector around the city of Troy three times, Athena stopped Achilles. She says she will bring Hector around so the Achilles can be face to face with him. Achilles puts his trust in Athena and stops running. Athena tricks Hector by disguising herself as Hectors brother, Deiphobus.

She convinces Hector to turn around and when he does he is starring right into Achilles face. Hector truly believed his brother had come to help him and asked that Achilles not do horrible things to the body that died in the fight. Achilles response to that is there are no vows between wolves and lambs, nor between men and lions. He throws his spear and misses but Athena brings it right back to him and the spear that Hector threw stuck into Achilles armor. When Hector asked for another spear from his brother and didnt see his brother when he turned around, he realized he had been tricked.

After dragging Hectors dead body around the city of Troy, Achilles left the body for the dogs. The only way the body would remain untouched was by the protection Aphrodite offered. She anointed the body with rosy immortal oil, so that the abuse it suffered would not tear the flesh anymore. Apollo used mist to protect the body from the sun. The treatment of Hectors body was appalling to the Gods and Apollo pleaded with Zeus to send for Thetis, Achilles mother so that she could give a message to her son.

Zeus agreed and Thetis told her so to accept Priams ransom for Hectors body. Achilles does what is asked of him and the body is returned back to his father and the proper funeral is given for Hector. The Gods, as a whole, had a tremendous effect on the outcome of situations in the Iliad. They intervened in all aspects of the story, sometimes not to the benefit of all in involved, but they made the outcomes conclude the way they wanted them to. The mortals could only do as they pleased for a short time until the Gods caused situation to go their way.

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