05 October 14
What is Fate in The Odyssey?
Is a journey home determined by fate? Is one in control of one's fate coming from work
or school? Fate, development of events beyond a person's control, is a common theme in the The
Odyssey. Odysseus is the king of Ithaka and is married to Penelope. Penelope is believed to be
widowed after Odysseus has left to fight in the battle of Troy and hasn't returned in over a
decade. The book is written in "in medias res" where the epic poem starts in the middle of the
narrative. As the poem opens Odysseus is on Kalypso's island where he is stranded. She was a
caring goddess, immortal, and used Odysseus for sexual purposes while he stayed on the island.
Hermes was sent by Zeus to tell Kalypso to help Odysseus start his journey to Ithaka. Odysseus'
journey home was an eventful one with numerous trials and tribulations due to the actions of his
crewmen, the gods, and Odysseus himself. In the odyssey the characters have a defined destiney
but throughout the novel it is clear that the gods decide the charters fate which outlines that fate
in not in the hands of its owner.
Fate in The Odyssey is not in the control of the characters. In the poem it was clear it was
time for Odysseus to go home after all the years passed. This was in thanks to Hermes telling
Kalypso to help start Odysseus on his journey home. However, Odysseus was unaware that his
journey home would not be easy. After being held captive, in a sense, by kalypso for so long he
questioned her motives for helping him. "After these years, a helping hand? O goddess, what
guile is hidden here?..."(183184.V). This shows Odysseus' concern for Kalypso finally letting
him go. This was the beginning of his circle of events. Odysseus did not know or was not
prepared for his return home. By his reaction it was clear he didnt expect Kalypso to help him
home although it was not her idea to do so.
Odysseus' final return to the island in which he originated, Ithaka, was a founded fate.
Odysseus was unaware he was home as he did not recognize where he was. Upon his arrival
Odysseus meets Athena who disguised herself as a shepherd. She asked Odysseus who he was
Odysseus, being unsure of the shepherdsAthena's intentions, made up a lie to cover his true
identity. Athena then revealed herself telling Odysseus where he is. "...