The Role of the Supernatural
Supernatural elements have been crucial in the development of the works read. Supernatural elements have played a significant role in the events of The Iliad. In the story, wars have been presented as glorious and the gods are supernatural elements that influence human events and fate. The gods also have an important role in the development of the plot and theme in the story. They intervene on behalf of the mortal and help them or turn against them. Through discussing the intervention of the gods in human life and fate, this essay discusses the role of supernatural elements in the Iliad.
Throughout the Iliad, the gods have chosen the main characters and they favour them because of their birth or their destiny to accomplish a certain fate. The gods are actively involved in the lives of the mortals and even choose who to help except Zeus. Poseidon was the god of the sea and tended to favour those who travelled by the sea and the Greeks. When Zeus turned his back on the Greeks, Poseidon decided to help the Greeks in the war. When Achilles acts dishonourably, Zeus decides to punish the Greeks. However, Hera, who is another god, decides to intervene (Homer, p. 155).
Achilles received favours from the gods partly because the gods favour him and because he has physical prowess which was not common in other mortals. He was the descendant of a god and this explained his physical prowess and strength. Achilles is very aggressive, holds grudges and act negatively. When Achilles got angry and started killing them and throwing them in the river, the river god comes to people’s aid and made Achilles to stop throwing people in the river but still continues to kill them. Achilles seems to carry tension based on the fact that his fate is already determined for him. The gods are constantly involved in Achilles life and he knows this. When Achilles is talking to his mother who is a goddess, she asks what is troubling him and he answers, “Why tell you what you know” (Homer, p.423). This shows that he knew that his actions and fate was being monitored by the gods.
The supernatural elements also make a crucial plot of the story. The story begins with Achaeans suffering from a plague. When the main character, Achilles falls out with Agamemnon, he refuses to fight in the Achaeans battle and they get killed. Achilles’ mother Thetis goes to persuade Hephaistos to make armour for Achilles so that he can back to the battle. As the story continues, Achilles gets new armour and comes back to battle and kills the Trojans. All this happens under the watchful eyes of the gods. When Achilles started killing people, and throwing them into the river, the river god intervened (Homer, p. 317). Afterwards, the gods Hera and Poseidon come to the aid of Achilles and assist him in fighting the river god. Zeus gets angry at Achilles for his actions and turns his back on the Greeks. Hector died because Zues decided his fate and Athena deceived him that he would help him face Achilles. When Achilles kills Hektor, Achilles’ mother comes to intervene to have Achilles give the body back. The gods also send Pram to Achilles’ tent and ask him to give the body. Through the god’s intervention, Achilles is able to surrender the body and his aggressive and violent character. The gods therefore played a critical role in development of the story as they influenced the main character’s actions. Without the god’s involvement, the story might have taken a different path (Homer, p. 346).
The story’s use of various themes could change without the use of the gods as the supernatural elements. The main theme in the story is Achilles’ anger and it appears in most parts of the story. Achilles’ anger is as a result of the discord and alienation from the Greeks. His anger drove him not to join Hektor in the battle and he turned away from the Greeks (Homer, p. 246). When he came back with the armour, his anger led him to kill the Trojans and throw them in the river. His anger also led him to kill hector. He was also very angry when he was speaking to the gods including his mother who was a goddess. It was the gods that made Achilles let go of his anger. Without the gods, Achilles would not have reconciled with his people.
Discord is another theme that is consistent in the story. The story started with a plague on the Achaeans and this acted as an indication that the story would be about discord and conflict. When Achilles’ parents invited the gods to their wedding, they failed to invite Eris. Eris still came to the wedding and it is there that he set the conditions that led to the Trojan War. There is a lot of discord throughout the story and the gods seem to be taking sides. There is discord between the Greeks and the Trojans, discord between Zeus and Achilles, between Achilles and Hektor, Achilles and the river god, among other conflicts. Without the gods in the story, the theme of discord would not have been as pronounced as most of the conflicts were supported or planned by the gods (Homer, p. 455).
In conclusion, the supernatural elements in The Iliad are the gods and goddesses that have played a major role in the actions and fate of the people in the story. The gods have also influenced the development of the plot and themes in the story.