Disrespecting The Gods In Homer's Odyssey

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In Homer’s Odyssey, gods and other supernatural beings dominated every aspect of mortal life. All living things and phenomena that occur in the world can be traced back to the gods. Seeing as how gods are responsible for the lives of mortals and the state of the natural world, performing deeds that anger the gods would prove to be disastrous while performing deeds that please the gods would prove to be beneficial. Odysseus’ journey back to Ithaca after the Trojan War was took ten years due to angering gods like Poseidon and Helios. However, it was through Athena’s aid that he was able to make it back home. The gods are beings capable of bringing misfortune or greatness which is why mortals tend to perform sacrifices in honor of the gods due…show more content…
Disrespecting the gods spells disaster for the mortals held accountable. Menelaus, the king of Sparta, is one who infringed upon the rule that the gods must be respected. When Telemachus visits Sparta in search of information about his missing father, which prompts Menelaus to recall a run in that he had with the Old Man of the Sea. Menelaus was tasked with finding the Old Man, Proteus, to find his way home when stranded in Egypt. Proteus was described as a seer who served Poseidon, so his prophetic power was useful in helping one find their way home. After finding Proteus, Menelaus was not allowed to sail home due to not respecting the gods. Proteus says, “How wrong you were! ...You should have offered Zeus and the other gods a handsome sacrifice, then embarked, if you had hoped for a rapid journey home across the wine-dark sea" (Homer, Odyssey, IV.529-532). By not paying his respects to the gods before going off to war, Menelaus had his voyage prolonged as a result. The only way he could home was to go back to Egypt and pay his respects to Zeus, the king of the gods. Another instance where a mortal angered the gods is after…show more content…
It was through Athena’s persuasion that convinced Zeus to have Calypso to let Odysseus leave her island. In response to Athena, Zeus said, “You conceived it yourself: Odysseus shall return and pay the traitors back” (Homer, Odyssey, V.26-27). The only reason Odysseus was free and performed the actions that he did after leaving Calypso’s island was all attributed to Athena. Whenever Odysseus appeared to be in a perilous situation, it was Athena who always aided him. “But Zeus’s daughter Athena countered him at once. The rest of the winds she stopped right in their tracks, commanding them all to hush now, go to sleep” (Homer, Odyssey, V.421-424). The gods possess a multitude of abilities including the ability to change their appearance or the appearance of other people as seen by Athena changing into an eagle multiple times throughout the epic. Athena’s ability to change a person’s appearance had also been put into great use by Odysseus after his arrival in Ithaca. When Odysseus planned to infiltrate his own to gather information without being recognized, Athena used her powers to alter his appearance into a beggar to allow for no one to immediately recognize him. “First I will transform you—no one must know you. I will shrivel the supple skin on your lithe limbs, strip the russet curls from your head and deck you out in rags” (Homer, Odyssey, XIII.455-457). By
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