The Role of Greek Gods and Goddesses in Ancient Times
With all of the interesting aspects of the Odyssey, I am only going to touch on one of them. The gods and goddesses in the Odyssey of all of the deities mentioned I am only going to focus on a few. The first and most powerful of these is Zeus. Then we have Hermes, the messenger god. Last but not least of these would be Athena, the goddess of warriors.
Zeus, Ruler of the gods.
"Zeus, father of gods and of men. His power was vast as the sky, mighty as the roll of thunder . . . " (Lord 9). From this description of Zeus we could imagine a huge dominating person who had absolute control over everything. Zeus, was the father of gods, many of them were his children. Zeus was the god who liberated the world from the rule of the Titans. His father, Cronus, was the most powerful of the Titans. Cronus had heard that one day one of his sons would manage to take the throne from him. In order to avoid this most miserable fortune, he swallowed his children right after they were born. Zeus managed to avoid this fate though because his mother tricked Cronus into swallowing a rock instead. When Zeus was grown, he forced Cronus, with the help of his grandmother earth, to regurgitate all of the five older children and the rock. Then with the help of his siblings, and various other creatures he defeats the Titans. Zeus and his brother then drew lots to see who would rule what. Zeus ended up as ruler of the skies. He wielded the devastating thunderbolt. His power was greater than all of the other gods powers combined. In spite of his power though, he is not omnipotent or omniscient. He can be opposed and deceived. Both Poseidon and Hera, his wife, get the better of him in the Illiad. Mighty Zeus also has a major flaw. He has this incredible urge to love mortal women, which makes Hera extremely jealous. The eagle was his bird, and his tree was the oak.
Hermes, The messenger god.
Hermes, son of Zeus and Maia, had a very popular stature. His mother Maia was the daughter of Atlas, who held the sky on his shoulders. To most of us he is the most familiar of all the gods. He appears more than any other god in the tales of Greek Mythology. He was graceful and swift. He had wings on his sandals, hat, and on his magical wand, the Caduceus. He is often referred to as the messenger god because he was Zeus' personal messenger who, "flies as fleet as though to do his bidding" (Hamilton 34).
It was he who escorted the dead down to their final resting places. He was the shrewdest and most cunning of all the gods. In fact he was reputedly the master thief. Legend has it that before he was a day old he had already started his career. Before the sunset on the day of his birth, he had stolen Apollo's herds. Zeus was not happy with Hermes about this, and made him return Apollo's herds to him. He did however win Apollo's forgiveness by inventing for him, out of a tortoise's shell, the lyre. It was sometimes said...