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The Role of the Gods in Achilles’ Life

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  1. Introduction
  2. Achilles and the values of his time
  3. Achilles' relationship with the gods
  4. The mythical figure of Oedipus, from Oedipus Rex
  5. His refusal to fight for the Greeks
  6. Being loved and hated by the Gods
  7. Conclusion
  8. Bibliography

Achilles is the central character of Homer's Iliad. The epic revolves around the decisions he makes and the epic turns on him. It is his anger that opens the poem, and because he is an epic hero, it is important for the reader to know it and what harm it can cause, the anger of this one man. Achilles is like many other epic heroes in different stories and cultures. But there are also differences between him and figures such as Gilgamesh and Aeneas. He embodies the values of different culture but also has a much different relationship with the Gods than either of them or with figures from ancient Greece such as Oedipus. Because he is half-divine, he has special favor with the Gods and is able to engage them directly in order to win their favor and help.

[...] In this final battle, the role of the gods does not diminish even as Achilles takes center stage as he chases Hektor around the walls of Troy. Zeus is visited by Athena who wants to help Achilles. He wavers in his support and debates what he should do since he likes both heroes. Finally, he allows Athena to go and help Achilles kill Hektor. He tells her as your thought inclines, refrain no longer? (148). With Athena's help, Achilles is triumphant. [...]

[...] The gods do not simply order him about, but try and persuade him so he is happy. Athena swears that Achilles will be rewarded later with riches three times greater than what he has lost to Agamemnon. Agamemnon's life is spared, but he does not get complete victory. Achilles refuses to fight for the Greeks and goes off. He keeps his men from fighting as well, and without his elite force of troops, Agamemnon's chances of winning the war by breaking the siege of Troy are slim. [...]

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