In the Iliad, Homer focuses on both the events on the battlefield of the Trojan War and the quarrels and scheming of the gods atop Mt. Olympus. The poem's central narrative revolves around the feud between the Greek commander, Agamemnon, and the greatest of the Greek warriors, Achilles. By refusing to rejoin the campaign to breech the walls of Troy, Achilles's pride and anger leads to a prolonged slaughter before the Olympian gods take sides and intervene on behalf of both the Greeks and the Trojans. Homer recounts the feats of a supporting cast of semi-divine heroes on both sides of the conflict like Odysseus, Aeneas, Diomedes, and Sarpedon, as well as providing detailed genealogical background on the characters in a way that anticipates the modern superhero origin story.
In addition to the gory action among the mortals on the plains of Troy and the petty bickering among Zeus, Hera, and their rambunctious offspring, Homer also tells the sad story of the fall of Priam, benevolent king of Troy. It was Priam's son Paris who was singlehandedly responsible for causing the War through his capture of Menelaus's wife, Helen, and though his upcoming death is not depicted in the Iliad, he is cursed by his father and despised by his countrymen. While Hector's death and posthumous desecration by Achilles leads to Priam's moving plea for the return of his son's remains, neither Priam nor his line will survive the fall of Troy.