This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Role Of The Gods In The Odyssey

1236 words - 5 pages

Religion was deeply intertwined the culture of the ancient Greeks. In their stories, they prayed to the gods to satisfy their needs and offer assistance in their endeavors, and the gods would occasionally appear to select Greeks to give counsel, gifts, or other forms of aid. Alternatively, if the desires or endeavors of a mortal or mortals displeased one or more of the gods, they would also interfere with the fulfillment of their goals. In Homer’s Odyssey, the gods appear to or interfere with both Telemachus and Odysseus, either to help or hinder them in their journeys. Although the gods are responsible the difficulty Odysseus faces returning from Troy, they are equally responsible for motivating and assisting Odysseus and Telemachus in their respective travels. If not for divine interference, neither Odysseus nor Telemachus would have journeys to make.
The gods are first responsible for establishing the conditions under which the story begins. While the Greek soldiers had returned home from Troy, Odysseus remained trapped as “the brightest goddess, Calypso, held him her hollow grottoes” because “she wanted him as a husband” (Homer, Odyssey 1.5, Translation by Allen Mandelbaum). Calypso traps Odysseus on her island of Ogygia and “keeps the sad Odysseus there—although he weeps. Her words are fond and fragrant, sweet and soft—so she would honey him to cast far off his Ithaca” (1.7). He remains on Ogygia for years, leaving the care of his home to his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus. Because Calypso keeps him away for years, Odysseus is presumed dead and his absence invites suitors to his home. These suitors look to win the hand of Penelope, Odysseus’ wife. This state of affairs is the overall cause of Telemachus’ departure. If not for the actions of Calypso, Odysseus would have returned home without difficulty, no suitors would have come to court Penelope in his absence, and Telemachus would have no reason to embark in search of his missing father.
It is not Calypso alone that interferes with Odysseus’ return home. She could only be accused of detaining Odysseus, not causing him to arrive on Ogygia. When Athena asks Zeus why he has forsaken Odysseus on this island, he informs her, “only Poseidon, lord whose chariot runs beneath the earth, is furious—it was Odysseus who deprived the grandest Cyclops, the godlike Polyphemus, of his eye” (1.7). Poseidon continues to rage against Odysseus because “Thoosa—nymph whose father, Phorcys, keeps a close watch on the never-resting deep—gave birth to that huge Cyclops after she had lain in her deep sea-cave with Poseidon” (1.7). Zeus here explains to Athena that Poseidon despises Odysseus because of the role Odysseus played in putting out the eye of the Cyclops Polyphemus, who is Poseidon’s offspring. Therefore, Poseidon maintains a vendetta against Odysseus and “will not let him end his exile” (1.7). Homer indicates that although Odysseus encounters a great deal of misfortune that...

Find Another Essay On The Role of the Gods in the Odyssey

The Role of Loyalty in The Odyssey

1112 words - 4 pages Ogygia and finally decides that he needs to be with his true love so he leaves her. QUOTE!!(Book 11) On the return of the legendary Odysseus, Penelope really does not believe what she sees and claims the figure standing in front of her is actually not the man of her life. QUOTE!!(Book 23) Gods played a great role back in ancient civilizations and still do so to a certain extent, just not as intensely. Today, we have many different gods and

The Role of Ancient Gods Essay

1282 words - 5 pages resembles the Marxist explanation - it also names fear as the main factor. If one reads Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey,” and Virgil’s “Aeneid”, he gets to realize that the ancient concept of people’s interaction with Gods is totally deprived of fear in any form. In all three masterpieces, Gods are basically described as humans, with all their strengths and weaknesses, although being immortal. Humans often revere Gods, but not out of fear – they simply

The Role of Penelope in The Odyssey

1123 words - 4 pages The Role of Penelope in The Odyssey The character of Penelope in Homer's Odyssey reflects the faithful wife who waits twenty years for the arrival of her husband. Only a strong woman could sustain the stress, anxiety and confusion resulting from the chaos of a palace with a missing king whose fate is unknown. Her responsibilities and commitments toward the man she loves are particularly difficult to keep, under the strain of the situation

The Role of Phaeacia in the Odyssey

1056 words - 4 pages The Role of Phaeacia in the Odyssey The episode with Phaeacia begins where Odysseus has been away from his home for twenty years, and is longing to return to Ithaca and Penelope. This book is very important and involves certain tests for Odysseus to come across. At the beginning of this book, we are told that the princess, Nausicaa, is described as “tall and beautiful as a goddess.” Alcinous as good as offers Odysseus

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

The Role of the Gods in Homer's The Iliad

539 words - 2 pages The Role of the Gods in Homer's The Iliad "We everlasting gods....Ah what chilling blows we suffer-thanks to our own conflicting wills-whenever we show these mortal men some kindness." This exert clearly states what kind of authority Homer has bestowed on his Gods. John Porter said," their constant interference in the lives of the mortals, which seems to cast them in the role of malicious puppeteers, while reducing Homer's heroes to mere

The Role of Penelope in Homer's Odyssey

1201 words - 5 pages   Odysseus's wife, Penelope plays a very important role in Homer's Odyssey.  She provides the motivation for Odysseus's return to Ithaca.  She is also the center of the plot involving the suitors and the fate of Telemakos and Ithaca itself.  The objective of this essay is to analyze the important role of Penelope in Odyssey.              Penelope is the reason for Odysseus's return to Ithaca.  He is driven throughout his entire journey to

Role of Women in the Odyssey

729 words - 3 pages Role of Women in the OdysseyBy looking at Homer's Odyssey, we can begin to get an idea as to how the ancient Greeks regarded their women. Men treated them almost as though they were possessions and not people, and many times women had to resort to deception to accomplish their own goals and desires. By interpreting Homer's view of women, one can draw a bigger picture of the role of women in ancient Greek culture. In the Odyssey, we learn that

The Gods in Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey

1408 words - 6 pages Morpheus to aid the Greeks by putting Zeus to sleep thus rendering him unable to help his beloved Trojans. Not anything like this event can be found in the Odyssey. The role of the Gods in the affairs of humanity is much greater in the Iliad then in the Odyssey. In the Iliad, the Olympians are continually interfering in the conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans. At best, they view mortals as hilarious pets to be cared for, played with, and

Role of the Gods in Virgil's The Aeneid

1360 words - 5 pages There are many gods that play a role in the Aeneid. The main ones are Jupiter, king of all deities, Juno the divine antagonist of Aeneas’ destiny and Venus, his mother and his main protector. There are also the lesser gods such as Neptune, Aeolus, and Mercury, who serve as instruments for the main gods to meddle in the events of the story. The interactions between these is clear from book 1 where Juno is fuming because her favoured city

The Role of Faith and the Gods in Oedipus Rex

1947 words - 8 pages A common struggle man faces is the question of who or what has power and control over his life. Does he have total control of his future, or is there a higher being at work that takes human lives into their own hands? Sophocles, in his work Oedipus Rex, establishes a view that gives fate, which is created by the gods, a seemingly inescapable characteristic over man. The role of fate is clearly defined, through the fulfillment of divine

Similar Essays

The Role Of The Gods In The Odyssey

1586 words - 6 pages In determining the role of the Gods in The Odyssey, by Homer, one must ponder where Odysseus would be if the Greek Gods did not exist. If it weren't for Athena, daughter of Zeus, would Odysseus still be able to overcome the challenges he faced from Poseidon (the God of the Sea), Helios (the sun god), Calypso (the goddess-nymph), and Circe (the goddess and enchantress) during his journey home? Would he still experience the same life long lessons

The Role Of The Gods In Homer's The Odyssey

1093 words - 4 pages , strategy and intellect. In ancient Greece, the Gods’ power has constantly been praised and known as the God’s Love. In Homer’s Epic, what has really attracted my attention is how God in his highest love Odysseus and been always with him during his journey. Odysseus also knew that he would not be alive if he was not praising the names of Gods especially with the goddess Athena. In Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey, gods play a very

The Birth Of The Gods In Homer's Odyssey

1584 words - 6 pages The Birth of the Gods in The Odyssey     Prehistoric man did not question his existence and reality - he just lived as one with nature. When prehistoric man awakened from this simple existence into the world of intelligence, he began to question his existence and reality. Homer’s The Odyssey demonstrated man’s attempt to cope with their own nature through the illusion of the gods, by using them to carry their burdens of hopelessness

Odysseus As Pawn Of The Gods In Homer's Odyssey

1661 words - 7 pages Odysseus as Pawn of the Gods in The Odyssey    Throughout literature characters have relied upon entities greater then themselves to furnish them with aid as they meet the many challenges they must face. The Odyssey is a tale of Odysseus’ epic journey and the many obstacles that bar his return home. But Odysseus is not alone in this struggle and receives aid from many gods, especially the clear-eyed goddess Athena. There are times when