An epic poem is a long, serious, narrative poem about a significant event, usually has a hero who embodies the values of a culture, something vital that depends on the success of the hero’s actions, a broad setting, and interference by supernatural beings. The Homeric poems are epic, because our concept of epic comes from Homeric poems. Most of the Iliad depicts significant events of the final weeks of the Trojan War and the Greek siege of the city of Troy.
Fate and destiny is defined as the development of events beyond a person’s control and determined by a supernatural power (google). The gods in the Iliad are very powerful and can tamper with mortals’ lives, influencing relationships, success, etc. Although, the gods are still limited by the stronger force. While they influence daily affairs, the gods’ tampering only ends up contributing to the correct fate that will play out. Zeus may tip it in favor of the Trojans temporarily, but Zeus’ real reason for helping the Trojans is so the Greeks will be beaten down and Achilles will look like an even greater hero when he returns to the fighting. The Greek side is fated to win the war, and this will happen no matter what the gods do.
Achilles’ bravery on the battlefield and his accomplishments can be viewed as acts of heroism. He is by far the greatest warrior for the Greeks. He is well-known for showing great strength and courage. Achilles is a hero in every way. But when one thinks of his actions in The Iliad, like his public defilement of Hektor’s corpse, his heroism is questioned. Achilles knows no equal on the battlefield. Agamemnon, leader of the Greek army, refers to Achilles as ”godlike.” His skill and accomplishments make him a hero to the Greeks. But Agamemnon stays back but gets all the benefits. Achilles thinks he should be rewarded better for his acts of heroism against the Trojan army. Agamemnon doesn’t want to reward him, until Achilles declares that he is leaving. Achilles appears a little spoiled. If he doesn’t get what he wants, he is going to pick up and leave. However, his declaration takes courage, and sets him apart from others. He shows how much his skills are needed. Despite an offer of a lot of riches to stay, Achilles refused his reward. This refusal shows heroism. While Achilles may want fame and glory, it doesn’t consume him. If others disrespect him, he doesn’t tolerate it. He fights heroically for his country and himself. The death of his good friend Patroclus at the hands of Hektor, is a defining moment for Achilles. He has a lot of grief and that could prevent him from continuing to participation in the Trojan War, and his friends are even worried Achilles may decide to kill himself. Heroes find a way to rise above their pain and accomplish the extraordinary things. For Achilles, this moment means more. The death of Patroclus signals his demise as well. He mentions that he will go ”overtake the killer of a dear life and then accept my own death.” Achilles not only has to deal with the grief of his best friend’s death, but also accept his death will soon come. He accepts this. Proving an act of heroism since this act sets himself apart from others and demonstrates great courage and strength.
Although Achilles and Hector are both leaders of men, Hector is the only real hero on the Trojan side. He is a man of action. Hektor has decreased the number of soldiers fighting for the Greek army. No one has been able to beat him in battle. In the past, a man’s courage and strength kept him alive. Courage was valued over honesty and even faithfulness. If a hero is the most courageous of the bunch, Hector is more heroic than Achilles. Killing seems to be associated with being like a god. Hector is called “godlike’ only when he stood victorious over the corpse of a Greek soldier. After killing Achilles close friend Patroclus, he attracted the wrath of Achilles. Filled with anger, Achilles wants nothing more than to hunt down hector.
The Greek gods and goddess share many of the same attributes as most humans. They are very much like humans in the way that they have weaknesses and strengths. The gods display their characteristics much more drastically than humans do. The similarities are obvious. An example of a human trait is that the Greek gods and goddess displayed vengeance and anger. Whenever anyone committed a crime against him or her, they always take revenge. The gods often got jealous when humans exclude them in their offerings and will not hide their anger. Jealousy was a weakness the Greek gods possess and usually led to stupid mistakes. I believe that Greek gods are more similar to humans because the only difference is that gods have powers and humans don’t. other wise, god and humans are the same. gods had feelings, they plot revenge, they had bodies and become jealous, etc. They all had feelings that us humans experience as well.
In conclusion, the Iliad is an epic poem. It has all the right criteria like hero’s, fate, and supernatural forces.