Comedy and Tragedy in The Iliad

Gods are immortal, to them each man is a part in a movie they can control; but they aren’t much different from the people they’re laughing at.

In The Iliad by Homer, the Gods and their human creations are portrayed and behave in alike ways.They are described to have similar looking bodies, ambitions, and fears.They both fight bitter wars, and push for peace.They both have leaders and followers.They both worry about the future.

However, the Gods are immortal and the humans are not.As a result, when a God acts in a way a Greek writer would consider “heroic,” they will never be hurt in a way which they couldn’t recover from.However, human heroes are mortal, and often are forced to face their mortality due to consistent warfare.

The acts of war cause only comedy in the immortal world, and tragedy in the mortal realm. There are many points throughout The Iliad where Gods and Goddesses act in ways that have catastrophic effects for humans, without hurting any of the Gods at all.Aphrodite, the Goddess of love and beauty, basically caused the start of the war by kidnapping Helen, the wife of Menelaus, and bringing her to Troy to marry Paris instead.This starts a war in the human world that claims the lives of thousands of people, but does not affect Mount Olympus.

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On the first page Homer writes “Apollo incensed at the king he swept a fatal plague through the army.” (77) He’s showing how the God Apollo causes an outbreak of plague that kills Greek soldiers as punishment for the death of one of his priests.The result of these actions cause comedy, as the story unfolds on Mount Olympus as a slight disagreement with an easily resolvable ending; whereas on the battlefield it unfolds as the tragic slaughter of thousands. The human (mortal) heroes are well aware that their actions will have consequences. Fighting their hardest to later pridefully accept a painful death brought on by one’s enemies is part of the h..

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