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The Role Of The Gods In The Lives Of Men

1183 words - 5 pages

The role of the gods in the lives of men is very apparent in many works of literature. The gods play a significant, if not dominate role in each and every one of these works. The gods use their powers for many diverse and essential actions. In the numerous works, readers can see the gods determining the events in the lives of men time after time.
In The Odyssey, the Greek Goddess, Athena, uses her power to influence many aspects of the lives of both Odysseus and his son, Telemachus. Athena has an extraordinarily close relationship with Odysseus. She is Odysseus’s guardian. Athena directs Odysseus and Telemachus both physically and mentally throughout their many life changing adventures. In the beginning of the Odyssey, Odysseus is being held by Kalypso on her island. Athena begs her father, Zeus, to send Hermes to make Kalypso release Odysseus so that he may return home to Ithaka. Athena says, “…my own heart is broken for Odysseus, the master mind of war, so long a castaway upon an island… (The Odyssey, Book 1 pg. 226).” While Zeus sends Hermes to demand Odysseus’s release, Athena, disguised at Mentor, visits Telemachus. She sends Telemachus on a journey to find news of his father which, in turn, keeps him safe from the suitors. When Odysseus is allowed to leave Kalypso’s island on a raft, Poseidon sends out a strong storm because Odysseus has previously blinded his son, Polyphemus. Athena once again steps in to help Odysseus. She controls the winds so that he washes upon the shore of the Island of Scheria. When he reaches the shore, Athena send Odysseus into a deep sleep. While Odysseus is resting, Athena goes to Nausikkaa, a princess, in a dream and tells her to go to the river and there she will find Odysseus. To do this, she disguises herself in the dream as the shipman Dymas’ daughter who is a dear friend of Nausikka. The next morning, the princess goes to the river and finds Odysseus. Athena disguises Odysseus often throughout the story to keep him from being harmed and recognized. When Odysseus finally returns to Ithaka, Athena masks his appearance and makes him appear as an old beggar. This allows Odysseus to spy on the suitors that have overrun his home without being detected. When Odysseus appears as himself, it is too late for the suitors to escape. Odysseus, with Telemachus fighting beside him, kills all of the suitors. If Odysseus and Telemachus did not have Athena’s help throughout their journeys, the outcome of their lives would have been completely different. Without Athena’s help, Odysseus would have never returned home alive, and Telemachus would have been killed by the suitors. Athena’s role in the lives of these men was to protect, lead, and mentor them. This led to her not only having a role in their lives, but also saving their lives.
In Gilgamesh, the role of the gods in the lives of men is both direct and indirect. Gilgamesh is the unruly king of who is “…arrogant, oppressive, and brutal (Lawall 11).” The people of...

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