In the Iliad the Greater Aias has a complicated relationship with the gods. His interactions with Zeus are markedly inconsistent, and no god physically intervenes on his behalf, although he spends more time on the battlefield than any other Greek hero. A close look at these issues shows that the strange nature of the gods' interactions, or lack thereof, with Aias reflect a conflict between two deities' feelings about the hero and the circumstances of the Trojan War. Zeus cares for Aias, but his promises concerning the Trojans and Hektor specifically frequently force him to work against the Greek hero. Athena, the Greeks' primary divine benefactor, hates Aias in the Iliad as she does in other places in the Greek literary tradition, but her desire to see the Greeks defeat the Trojans keeps her from directly acting against him.


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pp. 75-96
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