Epic Elements in “The Iliad” Poem by Homer

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The Iliad, which was allegedly written by Homer, is one of the oldest and simultaneously greatest works of the past. It presents a story that tells readers the story of Achilles, who fights on the side of Achaeans in the Trojan War. An epic often contains elements that show the tendencies in written works of ancient times. This paper will discuss what elements of an epic are present in The Iliad by Homer.

The first element that is presented to the reader is the deep involvement of the gods in the affairs of mortals. For example, Apollo readily answers a prayer that invites him to help his priest Chryses (Homer, n.d.). In fact, the war that is depicted in this epic is being fought not only by humans but by the gods who support them. Moreover, there are characters that are so closely linked to these gods, and their actions are shown to decide entire battles. Achilles, for example, uses artifacts gifted to him by Thetis and Hephaestus and shows unnatural qualities, both physical and mental (Homer, n.d.). The number of long comparisons also indicates that this story is an epic. The style of narration includes many epithets and goes deep into details.

In conclusion, The Iliad allows readers to distinguish several elements of an epic easily. They include the direct involvement of the gods in the mortals’ affairs, a hero that is being born from a supernatural being and possesses superhuman qualities, and the events are related to the lives of many people. The story describes the Trojan War, in which two nations that are backed by the gods themselves collide in epic battles. Achilles is shown in this epic as a person with strong connections to gods, who help him in many of his heroic acts.


Homer. (n.d.). The Iliad. The Internet Classics Archive. Web.