Essay The Odyssey and the Iliad

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The Odyssey and the Iliad

     In our day and age, people strive for independence and a sense of authority. However, at many times this is more easily said than done. Whether it be God, or in the eyes of the Achaeans and Trojans, the immortals, lives and actions are commonly defined by a higher being. Which leads to Homer’s epic poems the Odyssey and the Iliad which deal with constant conflict in a world where the mortals are not even masters of their own destiny. The main character Odysseus, and the two armies, the Achaeans and the Trojans have little control over their own fate. Their destinies are defined by the gods. The gods demonstrate their control through prophecy, omens, and the intervention
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Achilles never doubted Hector’s predictions about his death, because he was aware of his own destiny (I, p. 444):
Be careful now; for I might be made into the gods’ curse upon you, on the day when Paris and Phoibos Apollo destroy you in the Skaian gates, for all your valour.
In the same way, Odysseus does not fear death when he left on his land journey to make peace with Poseidon. He knows that he will return home to his wife Penelope, because it was his fate to die at sea an old man. (O, p.126).
     Omens from the gods influenced many critical decisions. When a character was in need, he commonly asked for an answer from the gods. Odysseus, unsure if he should attack the suitors, asked for an omen from Zeus (O, p.228). In answer, Zeus sent a large thunderbolt down as a sign, and Odysseus became confident in his victory (O, p.228).
When a sign sent from above was ignored by the unknowing, disaster was upon them at once. The Trojans were hesitant to sack the Achaean boats because of an omen of an eagle carrying a snake in its claw. However, because the Trojans were so confident in themselves, they chose to ignore this omen and paid for their insolence (I, p.264).
     Constant control leads to constant dependency. Odysseus is constantly relying on Athene for help and questioned her absence when he reached conflict on his voyage home (O,p.154).

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