Examine the significance of how humans are treated by the Gods in the Iliad.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that it is deliberate on Homer's part to show how the Greek Gods treat the humans in the Iliad.  It is evident that the Gods have little care for how their actions will impact the humans.  For example, Homer demonstrates Aphrodite to have little regard for the consequences of her granting Paris' desire.  Athena has little patience to see that her counsel to Odysseus results in the death of thousands.  Zeus and Hera are more like a typical boisterous, angry couple than the guardians of the Olympians.  In contrast, Hector embodies the very best of humanity and even Achilles grows and matures in his reflection about what mortality is.  Humans are treated as mere play things of the Gods.  There seems to be an inversion of behavior evident.  The Gods revel at acting like human beings, while human  beings seem to act more like the divine.  In the end, Homer creates those with immortality to act like mortals, and those with mortality following them act in a manner where they become immortal. It might be for this reason why the human characters of the narrative hold much more re-collective power than the divine forces in its.  Homer seems to emphasize that the treatment of the humans by the gods seem to bring out the immortality and the mortality in each, but not in the particular order that one would presume.  It is here where Homer's treatment of the subject adds a unique dimension to both how we view the gods and ourselves.