Deception And Disguise In "The Odyssey"

1396 words - 6 pages

Deception is defined as a crafty procedure or practice meant to deceive or defraud. People tend to view this as a sinister action. No matter how sinister it can be, it can also be utilized to gain information and knowledge. How a person uses deception varies among different people. Generally, the more clever people tend to utilize deception very efficiently. Odysseus masters deception in the Odyssey by disguising himself. Odysseus isn't alone for Athena also uses disguises. With that being said, disguises allow Odysseus to succeed in killing the suitors.
Athena was just as important in disguising herself because she played such an important role in killing the suitors. She did so by disguising herself as other people to help Odysseus return to Ithaca by slaying the suitors. There were certainly many opportunities for Athena to use disguises to help Odysseus.
For instance, Athena's first disguise was to help Telemachus obtain information about his father's whereabouts. If Telemachus were to find his father, it would in turn lead to Telemachus helping Odysseus. Because it was Telemachus and Odysseus who were to fight against the suitors; executing all those who tainted Odysseus' palace.
What was this disguise Athena took on? She chose none other than the chieftain of the Taphians: Mentes. Athena disguises herself as Mentes to inform Telemachus that Odysseus is still alive. After informing Telemachus about his father being very well alive, Athena tells Telemachus to then take action to find Odysseus, “For yourself, here is my advice. It is sound, and I hope you will take it. Choose your best ship, man her with twenty oarsmen, and set out to inquire after your long absent father.” (pg10,line 279) With this advice, Telemachus starts planning his journey to find his father.
Athena doesn't stop with helping Telemachus discover that his father is still alive. Athena goes above and beyond the situation by setting up the journey. She does so by walking around town disguised as Telemachus, inviting men to meet up at nightfall at a ship she has borrowed. When it is finally time to disembark, Athena makes the suitors fall asleep and, in the form of Mentor, informs Telemachus of the arrival of his crew. She leads Telemachus to his ship while the crew gathers the necessary items to sail. Athena helps Telemachus take action to find his father and even prepares his search.
After assisting Telemachus, Athena ventures to the Island where Calypso lives to free Odysseus. Odysseus is then given a boat by Calypso to return to home. On the way home, he lands on a strange place which is unknown to him. Athena, cognizant of Odysseus' arrival, travels to the palace of Alcinous disguised as one of Nausicaa's friends. Athena enters the palace and gives Nausicaa advice to venture to river so she would clean herself up to make her presentable to men. In doing this, Athena has sent Nausicaa to meet up with Odysseus at the river. It was then Odysseus' turn to be...

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