Divine Interactions On The Journey Of Odysseus

1751 words - 7 pages

Odyssey EssayIt took Odysseus a total of ten years to get home after the end of the Trojan War. Different gods had different feelings about Odysseus when aiding and thwarting him on his journey back to Ithika. Odysseus traveled all over the Mediterranean Sea searching for a way back to his precious homeland and beautiful wife, Penelope. Odysseus had been forced to fight for a total of ten years in the Trojan War, carried away from his son, Telemachus, and Penelope, after he failed to prove he was mad and couldn't fight. All while the war, a whole ten years, Odysseus was longing for one thing, and one thing only, to return to his homeland and see his wife and child. The gods played interesting roles in the journey of Odysseus, in the epic Poem the Odyssey by Homer. Some helped him along the way, such as Athena. Some only wanted to cause disruptions in the voyage much like Poseidon. Others were on the fence, like Kalypso and Circe, both showing hospitality and hostility. The three most important roles that the gods portrayed were that of Athena supporting Odysseus, Poseidon opposing him, and Kalypso and Circe showing both benevolence and antagonism.From the very beginning of The Odyssey, instances of the divine assistant, Athena, aiding Odysseus are evident. Athena couldn't stand to see the line of filthy suitors waiting to marry Penelope, Odysseus' wife. Athena of many disguises went to Telemachus as Odysseus' old friend, Mentes. Telemachus was overjoyed when he heard, "'As for my sailing here -/ The tale is that your father had come home, / therefore I came. I see the gods delay him. / But never in this world is Odysseus dead - / only detained somewhere on this wide sea, / upon some island…"' (Book I). While explaining that Odysseus is still alive, she also adds that he, Telemachus, should gather up the suitors and announce their expulsion from his father's manor. This created relief in both Odysseus' and his family's mind that they both knew he was still alive. Athena also persuaded Zeus to send Hermes, along with his will of having Odysseus continue to embark on his journey, to Kalypso's Island of Ogygia so the nymph would have to let Odysseus free. Zeus' heart sank when Athena explained, "'Meanwhile he [Odysseus] lives and grieves upon that island / in thralldom to the nymph; he cannot stir, / cannot face homewards, for no ship is left for him, / fitted with oars - no crewmen or companions / to pull him on the broad back of the sea'" (Book V). Zeus decided to honor Athena's request and free Odysseus from Kalypso, who was holding him prisoner due her love for him. But even Kalypso couldn't deny the will of the Summoner of Clouds. Not only that, but also Athena helped Odysseus overthrow the suitors, this is where the goddess of warfare shined the brightest. Instead of jumping into the field of her choice, she, as an alternative, decided to motivate Odysseus by saying, "'Where is your valor, where is your iron hand… / How many foes...

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