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"The Odessey": Athena. Essay

988 words - 4 pages

"All men have need of the gods." (Homer) - In a sense, with this single quote, I believe that Homer summarizes his entire reasoning behind including the Greek gods and goddesses in "The Odyssey". Imagine living in another world and time, one where you were not only a god but could also shape shift. That is, you could take the form of any object or person that you chose. Athena, the daughter of Zeus has this ability. Of all the characters in the Odyssey, the most interesting to me is Athena. In my opinion, Homer uses Athena as an allusion, a prime example of ancient and modern day religion as a whole. The inclusion of Athena in "The Odyssey" signifies the importance of religion in daily life for Homer, and the supernatural characteristics that she posses seem to represent that no matter what shape or form of religion you practice, it is absolutely necessary for day to day survival. Several characteristics make Athena especially stand out as a representative of all religion. The warrior goddess is a superior power that is always there to aid the human being; she is always guiding the main characters of "The Odyssey" in the right direction, bringing them godlike prophecies, and completing tasks in their favor.The first quality about Athena which makes her seem to me as arepresentative of religion as a whole, is that she is always guiding the main characters of "The Odyssey" in the right direction, often times doing so in a very inconspicuous, sneaky way. One example of such an action is when Athena makes Telemachos go to Pylos and Sparta. Athena says, "My advice to you is this, if you will let me advise you. Get the best ship you can find, put twenty oarsmen aboard, go and find out about your father and why he is so long away. Perhaps some one may tell you, or you may hear some rumor that god will send, which is often the best way for people to get news." (Homer 17) If not for Athena, Telemachos might have taken his father for dead and encouraged his mother to marry one of her suitors. However, Athena, under the disguise of Mentes, advises Telemachos to go on a journey to try to find out what has become of his father, Odysseus. At other times, she discloses herself completely, an directly advises Odysseus: "Then she made a sign with her brows, and goodly Ulysses perceived it, and went forth from the living room, past the great wall of the court, and stood before her, and Athena spoke to him, saying "Son of Laertes, sprung from Zeus, Odysseus of many devices, even now do you reveal your word to your son, and hide it not, that when you two have planned death and fate for the suitors, you may go to the famous city. Nor will I myself be long away from you, for I am eager for the battle."" (16.166).The second...

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