The Roles of the Gods in Homer’s and Aeschylus’ Works

Subject: Literature
Pages: 3
Words: 561
Reading time:
2 min

According to Homer in the Iliad book Vol. 1, the gods had the role of disciplining people who went astray by sending them an evil sickness to kill them as in the case of Latona’s son on the first page. Importantly, Homer used gods in order to add winds to the standard plot of the Trojan War. For example in the Iliad book one, Zeus served as a check to the involvement of each other gods in the war. Additionally, this god played the role of the father hence indicating patriarchy in the works of Homer.

The poem ‘Iliad’ it is clearly indicated that ancient gods took active roles in the affairs of people’s lives. These roles included dying as in the case of Zeus’ son Sarpedon and love as indicated by Aphrodite and Ares as they were lovers. In this work, gods acted as a foil for humankind by indicating the troubles, sufferings, and problems faced by world people. The involvement of gods in human affairs, help in universalizing the actions of the poem that could have been missed in their absence.

On the other hand, in the chorus Agamemnon by Aeschylus, the gods played the role of guiding human beings on the right track to follow. As indicated by Aeschylus, gods were respected and feared as they avenged any wrongdoing as in the case of the goddesses called the Furies who punished the Greek soldiers for being too brutal in their invasion. In this chorus, the gods played human and divine roles as they could marry and have families. On this basis, the roles of the gods in the chorus were to rule both mankind and the spiritual world.

In this case, the two writers depicted in their works that Greek gods are not only in spiritual nature but also rule humankind. From the works of Homer and Aeschylus, it can be revealed that Greek culture was characterized by divine intervention. This can be witnessed in Homer’s Iliad volume 1 where Zeus as the representation of ultimate power and justice makes judgments and controls the Trojan War. Additionally, in the society where this work was written gods are viewed as setting back fate to its right course. This can be seen in the case where Patroklos was murdered as it had been decided that he would not take Troy or disobey Achilles.

A point worth noting is that these two classical works use gods to indicate the polytheistic nature of the Greeks. Additionally, the patriarchal nature of the gods’ families in both works as can be seen in the case of Zeus as the patriarch of the gods; outlined the patriarchal culture of the Greeks. Further, the societies where both works were written viewed gods as responsible for punishing those disobeying them.

This can be seen when Patroklos was killed for disobeying Achilles in Homer’s Iliad and the Furies punished soldiers for being too brutal in Aeschylus’s Agamemnon. In winding up, Homer and Aeschylus have used gods in their works to illustrate the divine intervention where the gods affect human affairs. On this basis, the representations of gods in the two works depict the way the societies where the two works were written, view gods.