How do you interpret the involvement of the gods and goddesses in human life in the Iliad? Do you think that they aggravate the situation and lead to more destruction?

The involvement of the gods and goddesses in human life in the Iliad can be seen as devious and manipulative. They treat the combatants in the Trojan War as pawns in a game of chess, to be moved around as and when the gods feel like it. This undoubtedly aggravates the situation, leading to more death, bloodshed, and destruction.

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In the Iliad , the gods and goddesses play a very important part. In order to answer your question, you might want to explain that this is because the ancient Greek faith believed that the gods were anthropomorphic. This means they had the appearance of humans, as well as similar...

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characteristics and feelings. As a result of this, gods and goddesses did not just watch life on earth unfold, they actually got involved themselves and actively intervened whenever they wanted.

I would definitely interpret the involvement of the gods in human life as very negative, as this means that humans do not really have any free will to decide over their life and fate. Unlike the benevolent, forgiving God of Christianity, the greek Gods and goddesses are very selfish and self-centered. They are often very jealous and passionate. Their main interest is not to help humans, but to help themselves. For example, according to the Iliad, the Trojan War would not have happened had it not been for the gods' involvement: it was an argument between the goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite that ultimately led to Paris abducting Helena, as Aphrodite had promised Paris Helena's love in return for the apple. The abduction of Helena, caused solely by the godesses' involvement, led to the Trojan War. This is probably the best example to show how the gods' involvement in human life is mainly negative, as it shows how selfish the gods act and how little they care for human life. Their involvement clearly caused a lot of aggravation and destruction that may not have happened otherwise.

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The gods and goddesses of ancient Greek mythology regularly intervene throughout the Iliad. They get involved at key points, invariably driving the action forward. In doing so, they show themselves to be devious, manipulative, and generally indifferent to human suffering. To the gods, mortals are little more than pawns on a gigantic chess board to be moved around at will.

This attitude towards human life shouldn’t surprise us in the slightest, given that it was the gods who were responsible for the outbreak of the Trojan War in the first place. Let us not forget that it was the goddess Aphrodite who started the whole conflict by awarding the Trojan prince Paris the prize of Helen after he judged Aphrodite to be the fairest goddess of them all. As Helen was already married, this constituted an insult to her husband Menelaus, whose honor the Greeks sought to restore. Hence, the Trojan War.

Ever since then, the gods and goddesses have been intervening regularly in the Trojan War, invariably stretching out the conflict, thus causing more death, suffering, and bloodshed. In book 2, when the Greeks dash to their ships after Agamemnon tells them that the war is over and that they’re going home, it’s the goddess Athena who inspires Odysseus to call them back.

Had the Greeks left there and then, it would’ve saved a lot of lives. But according to the divine plan, Troy must fall, and that means that the Greeks need to stay put until they’ve got the job done. Here as elsewhere in the poem, the will of the gods is all-important, certainly more important than the death and suffering of mere mortals.

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