Essay on The Hero Of The Iliad

1715 Words Sep 21st, 2015 null Page
For this activity, I selected two gods and a hero: Zeus, Hera, and Achilles. Zeus and Hera are principal actors in the Olympian thread of the plot, and inseparable in their entanglements, both with each other and with mortals. I felt that I would understand the Iliad itself better if I understood these supreme gods better. Achilles is, of course, the hero of the Iliad and is the axis of the entire storyline. I will present, in order, the biographies of these three characters. Then I will explain how I more clearly understand a particular scene from the Iliad.
For Zeus, the scene I kept in mind while researching his theography (to coin a term) is the scene in Book XXI in which he chuckles to himself about the lesser gods’ quarrels. Zeus, whom the Romans called Jupiter, was called the “father of gods and men.” This epithet has a literal or figurative meaning, depending on the context. Zeus is the father of Ares, Hephaestus, and Hebe by his wife and sister Hera; he is the father of Apollo and Artemis by Leto; of Athena by Metis; and of Persephone by Demeter. Zeus is also the sire of a host of lesser gods and demigods, such as Dionysus by Semele, and Hercules by Alcmene. According to one tradition, Zeus was the father of Aphrodite, but another tradition claims that she was “born of the foam” (of the sea), which does account for her name. Considering his vast progeny, the epithet “father of gods and men” is appropriate. Other epithets that the ancients applied to Zeus were “the…

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