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Zeus As Keeper Of Order

Throughout The Iliad, Zeus presides as the supreme god of all gods, consistently maintaining the divine order of things and making known the absolute power he possesses so that his will may be done. This is clearly shown in the epic through the confrontation with his wife, Hera, when she accuses him of plotting secret plans. Zeus strongly reveals to her the superior power that he possesses over everyone, and that this position of power must never be questioned or disturbed. As a result, the people of Olympus never cease to worship and esteem this great god.

Order is therefore kept, and men and gods remain undisturbed. In Book One of The Iliad, Hera becomes angry with Zeus for having a secret meeting with Thetis the sea nymph and for agreeing to aid the Trojans in the war as a favor to her son Achilles. Zeus quickly reprimands her, saying “Hera, do not go on hoping that you will hear all my thoughts, since these will be too hard for you, though you are my wife. Any thought that it is right for you to listen to, no one neither man nor any immortal shall hear it before you.

But anything that apart from the rest of the gods I wish to plan, do not always question each detail nor probe me” (Iliad 1. 545-550). This is a prime example of Zeus making it known clearly where he stands in the order of things both as keeper of order and as a husband to Hera. Though Hera makes it known that she wishes to be involved in the matters of Zeus and the other gods, Zeus tells her that even though she is his wife, these matters are far too hard for her to understand completely.

Hera and the other gods all posses a high understanding of life, even higher than that of men, but the knowledge of life and the important role that fate plays in it that Zeus has is far more complex than that of any god or man. Zeus reassures Hera that when matters that are comprehensible to her arise, she will be the first to know, before any other god or man. This undoubtedly comforts her, knowing that Zeus is thoughtful of her wishes, and Zeus is therefore successful in resolving the conflicts that being both husband and keeper of order require.

However, order again is established when Zeus once more reminds Hera that he is the almighty and final authority by commanding her not to question him of things that pertain to his decisions alone and apart from the other gods. Zeus knows that he has the responsibility to carry out the will of Destiny, and that in some cases, doing so requires the supreme knowledge and wisdom that he alone possesses.

Destiny and order play the most important roles in the Homeric world, contributing to the laws and behavior of both man and god alike. Zeus, being more powerful than any other god combined, has been established as the final and supreme authority by these components. If these things are disturbed, the results are always chaotic. Therefore, it is forever settled that the supremacy that Zeus possesses, no matter how inconceivable to others, will always stand as the final word and the final power over all.

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