As readers of a story, we are granted a kind of insight and a perspective over many issues that the characters within the text lack. With the knowledge that is withheld from the characters, we readers are therefore able to evaluate and formulate conclusions about certain aspects such as the characters” genuine personalities, their fate, or issues that they will be faced with. Furthermore, we can conclude whether the characters” decisions or actions are rational and irrational based on what we know. The characters, on the other hand, must struggle and endure hardship in order to gain the knowledge that the readers are easily given. Also since the characters” choices of actions are based on their limited sphere of information, their decisions are often skewed. The characters” misguided judgment leads their lives to be shifted in sometimes misguided yet crucial directions that bring out the characters” personalities. In the Homer’s Iliad and the Biblical book of Genesis, esoteric knowledge, or rather the struggle to gain it, leads to the testing and defining of a character’s identity.
Hidden knowledge in the Iliad is exemplified through what the gods know and what information they keep hidden from the mortals. In the Iliad, mortals and gods frequently interact with each other, and the gods use this interaction to intervene in mortal affairs. With divine power, the gods often act deceitfully and with trickery to one another and especially to the mortals. The various characters often pray to different gods for assistance in their battles and struggles. We readers know that the gods hear the mortals” prayers, but the characters themselves do not find out whether the god will grant their request or whether the god has his/her own agenda; but by then it is often too late. .
Early on in the text, we see one of the many less than truthful interactions between mortals and gods when Zeus, in hopes to turn the tides of war, sends a false dream to Agamemnon.