Discuss the significance of the Gods' intervention in Achilles' reintegration into the war in The Iliad.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Essentially, the Gods' intervention in Achilles' reintegration is prompted by the appeal to Achilles' intense despair over the death of Patroklos.  The Olympians recognize that this is a significant moment and to seize it by going after Achilles when he is at his most vulnerable will be critical.  Hera, who has tried her best to get the Greeks to win no matter what her husband says, gets her messenger, Iris, to rouse Achilles into such a rage that his entry into the war would be inevitable.  Thetis, Achilles' mother, enlists the help of Hephaestus to make a new and more powerful armor for him to wear in battle, as his companion was killed in his own.  Athena does her best, as well, to ensure that Achilles cannot remain uninvolved as she "wraps Achilleus in the aegis" and gives him an aura of dominance with a blinding light.  Symbolic of the fire that rages within him, the Gods help to carve out an identity of vengeance and mourning as blinding intensity embodied in Achilles. Their attempts are significant as it shows the Gods are almost as wrathful as human beings when they feel slighted and dishonored, and are as intense as human beings in seeking victory no matter the cost.  The Gods' attempts are a directly violation of Zeus' order in Book Eight that they are to not involve themselves in the war, allowing the mortals to fight it out themselves.  In their attempts at getting Achillles reintegrated into the war, the Gods show themselves capable of doing anything in order to achieve their desired end.

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