Aeneas

When Aeneas first appears in The Iliad, he is presented as a man whose destiny has already been decided. Gods, friend or foe to the Trojans, still protect him so that he may claim his destiny. Aeneas' life exemplifies the importance of destiny and favor of the Gods.

Though the destinies of other men fluctuate, the destiny of Aeneas remains fixed. Aeneas' life is saved on several occasions by gods coming down from Mount Olympus to protect him. Even gods who desire nothing more than the Trojans to be wiped from the face of the earth protect Aeneas. When Achilles is about to strike a fatal blow against Aeneas, Poseidon intervenes. Poseidon does so for two main reasons: Aeneas has to attain his destiny, and he fears Aeneas' death may anger Zeus. The goddess Athene quite often assists Greek soldiers in killing Trojan men. Yet for all her direct action, Athene does not help in trying to kill Aeneas, only deflecting his blows towards others, such as Achilles. Aeneas is the favored among Zeus' human bloodlines, thus all gods whether they loathe or love the Trojans dare not allow him to perish.

If Aeneas was without the favor of Zeus, it is likely the gods would have allowed him to perish alongside others of Zeus' bloodline. Several other godlike men, including Hector, perish through the indifference of Zeus towards them. But with Zeus' support and through the hierarchy of Olympus, all gods young or old strive to keep Aeneas alive. Through studying the story of Aeneas in The Iliad, the reader can see the great importance that was placed upon maintaining the favor of the Gods, and thus how Aeneas was able to survive what the Greeks considered to be one of the greatest wars of their time.