Along with the Bible, Homer's famous Iliad is a masterpiece of unrivaled historical and literary value. Central to Homer's epic is the theme of interactions between human beings and gods are central to Homer's Iliad. The epic revolves around the story of Achilleus's plight, and the .
manner in which Zeus executes his promises to Thetis, the goddess/mother of Achilleus. The relationship between human beings and gods as depicted by Homer can be best described as that between the members of a large and loosely defined family. In the Iliad, Homer endows gods with distinctively human qualities, and conversely, elevates human-beings to the status of god-like heroes. The implication is that humans and gods are very much alike, and in some ways equal - a statement that seemingly contradicts the common definition of gods as abstract beings - untouchable, ungraspable, .
and generally beyond human comprehesion. In fact, this view is the direct reflection of the Greek religious mode: not the solemn, fearful worship of supernatural enities, but a celebration of a relationship that resembles .
one's relationship with a parent, or perhaps an older brother.
In the Iliad, Homer adeptly exposes the many sides of the complex relationship between humans and gods. One of the most telling aspects of this interaction is revealed shortly after the confrontation between Achilleus, the great warrior, and Agamemnon the king and leader of Greek forces. As a punishment for Achilleus's bold insolence, Agamemnon .
takes away his dearest war prize -a young maiden, and humiliates him publicly. Deeply hurt, Achilleus calls on his mother, the goddess Thetis, to bring his plight to Zeus and ask for a kind of "moral recompensation" from the mighty god. Specifically, Achilleus wishes that the Agamemnon's army be brought to the brink of defeat, at which time the Greeks would come .
back pleading for his help. Thetis pleads her son's case to Zeus, who agrees to punish the Greeks, and hence to restore Achilleus's honor.