Iliad

The Gods of Homer College

Critics and historians are of varied opinions when it comes to the authenticity of Homer’s text. Amidst everything else, it is often disputed whether The Iliad was even written by the man known as Homer, just as Shakespeare’s authorship is sometimes brought into question in academic circles. However, one thing is certain as EV Rieu points out in his introduction that a place called Ilium indeed existed in present-day Turkey. Although, whether it faced an actual siege by the Greeks is again debatable, but as Rieu rightly claims, “The question whether there really was a Trojan War is irrelevant to Homer’s purposes”. For Homer was but a poet relying on the oral epic tradition, and his main purpose was to enlighten or entertain his audience, rather than chronicling actual events. Either way, The Iliad is recognized as a work of literature above everything else, and hence, the discussion should circumvent such vain questions, for we can never be sure of their answers.

Therefore, the primary issue that emerges is – why did Homer give such eminence to gods in his tale? Was it the actual power of faith acting upon his motives or rather did he see it as a clever literary device to comment upon the value systems of his time? While the...

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