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The Ancient Greeks And Their Strong Belief In Their Gods

1237 words - 5 pages

Religion was deeply intertwined in the culture of the Ancient Greeks. They prayed to their gods, hoping the gods would satisfy their needs and offer assistance in their endeavors. Occasionally the gods would appear to select mortals to give them counsel or assistance. However, if the desires or endeavours of a mortal displeased one or more of the gods, they would also interfere in their success. The Ancient Greeks are a very religious people who strongly believe in their gods to the extent that they believed that the gods would interfere in their day-to-day living. Due to their strong belief in their gods, the Ancient Greeks had a relationship with the gods that gave them utmost respect and reverence. Homer illustrates these ideals in his epic poem, The Odyssey.
First of all, the relationship that the gods have with the mortals can be demonstrated through them interfering with the mortals and the authority they have over the mortals. Firstly, in interfering with the mortals, the gods are responsible for establishing the conditions under which the story begins. While the Greek soldiers had returned home from Troy, Odysseus remained trapped by Calypso on her island of Ogygia. He remains on the island for years, leaving the care of his home to his wife, Penelope, and his son, Telemachus. Since Calypso kept him away for so many years, Odysseus is presumed dead and his absence invites the suitors to his home with the intent of winning the hand of Penelope. These actions in addition to the aid and confidence Athena gives to Telemachus motivate him to go on a journey to find his father in order to save his mother from the suitors. If not for the actions of Calypso, Odysseus would have returned home without hindrance, the suitors would not have come to court Penelope in his absence, and Telemachus would have no reason or desire to embark on his journey to find his missing father. Secondly, the gods having authority over the mortals allow them to determine their fate. Odysseus’ fate is determined by the gods since they have the all-powerful authority over the mortals. The gods have a lot of human characteristics, which results in warfare where they exist. They let their own personal interests interfere with the lives of the mortals. Specifically, Poseidon holds a grudge against Odysseus for blinding Poyphemus. Unlike the gods in society today, Poseidon does not do what is in the best interest for Odysseus and takes revenge on him by destroying his ship and crew, leaving Odysseus stranded on Calypso’s island for many years. While trapped on the island, Odysseus is seduced by Calypso who wants to make him immortal to have as her husband. If not for the use of the gods’ all-powerful authority, Odysseus would not have had his journey home hindered for ten years and he would have been able to return home with the rest of the soldiers from Troy. Therefore, this shows that the gods use their authority to put their interest above the interests of the mortals....

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