What is the relationship between gods and mortals in Homer's Iliad?

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The gods have a complicated but important role in The Iliad. On the one hand, they are far more powerful than human beings and are depicted as having the ability to shape and manipulate human outcomes. One need only read The Iliad's opening book to find Apollo punishing Agamemnon by inflicting a plague on the Greek army, an example that illustrates this grave disparity of power.

At the same time, however, the gods are also deeply human in terms of their personalities and foibles. They can even have children with human beings, and there are characters within The Iliad who have divine parentage. Most notable is Achilles, son of the sea nymph Thetis, but to give additional examples, you can point towards the Trojan hero, Aeneas, son of Aphrodite, or Helen, daughter of Zeus.

Furthermore, the gods are not impartial in this conflict among mortals, and they find themselves divided over which side they should support (a fact which causes no small tension among them). Various gods will intervene (or...

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