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Role of Apollo in the Iliad Essay Example

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Role of Apollo in the Iliad

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While the Iliad is essentially a story of the human characters and the conflict between them, the Greek gods play an important role in shaping the plot of the story, as well as directly influencing the actions of the mortal characters. While the Greek Pantheon is not depicted to be very virtuous elsewhere, the Iliad portrayed them to be especially vengeful, fickle minded, biased and petty, unlike the mortals who were shown to abide by the ancient Grecian code of honor, at least for most of the time. While their behavior has been allegorically interpreted as to represent the uncertainty of life, the Greek gods’ comparatively trivial squabbles also act as a comic relief against the much serious setting of the epic poem. The role of gods also can be construed as trying to set fate back on the right course.
One of the major deities to play an active role in the Iliad, and the Trojan War in general, is Apollo. Apollo, the god of the arts and archery, supports the Trojans consistently throughout the Iliad and often intervenes on their behalf. He is also the first make an appearance in the poem in book 1 when he sends a plague on to the Achaeans at the request of a priest of Apollo. The priest’s daughter Chryseis is captured and gifted to the Achaean leader Agamemnon, who refuses to ransom her, leaving her father to beg for divine help. It is only after the Achaeans return Chryseis to her father and perform many sacrifices in his honor, that Apollo withdrew the plague. In this book, Homer shows that Apollo is capable of being compassionate and merciful towards his priest by honoring the priest’s request. But at the same time, he is also portrayed to be selfish, greedy for sacrifices from the Achaeans. This shows his dual nature, he is helpful to those who are loyal to him, yet he is willing to offer concessions for the enemies by accepting the sacrifices.
In book 22, Apollo is partially responsible for Hector’s death, but in the process, he saves the city of Troy from being destroyed prematurely.  

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preview essay on Role of Apollo in the Iliad
  • Pages: 2 (500 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Literature
  • Level: Masters
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