Patriarchy In The Odyssey

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In Homer’s The Odyssey, Greek gods usually use their powers to control the life of the Ancient Greeks. They would help whoever was in their favour, doing things such as giving magical gifts, and punish those who wronged them. However, the men in their society are the people portrayed heroes. The fathers are expected to bestow their sons with a sense of heroism, or courage, and self-identity. By utilizing the character of Athena to play this traditionally masculine role, Homer challenges the patriarchy of Ancient Greek society. Odysseus is missing as Telemakhos grows up, causing him to grow up without the vital paternal figure that Ancient Greek society emphasizes. Due to this, he also grows up without courage, which renders him incapable of…show more content…
Odysseus is the king of his land, and also a decorated war hero. However, when the war ends and he is away from home, neither of those titles fit him and he has no sense of self identity. Athena is then used to give him this self-possession, a characteristic that is essential to a hero. Odysseus is allowed to leave Kalypso’s island after Kalypso reluctantly agrees when Zeus orders her to let him go. Poseidon wrecks Odyssey’s ship, but Odysseus meets Ino, who gives him a veil that will keep him afloat. His ship goes down, but the veil saves him. In this quote, Odysseus survives a feat would have killed him, “now at last Odysseus would have perished, battered inhumanly, but he had the gift of self possession from grey eyed Athena” (V 455.) At this moment, Odysseus is lost at sea, yet the term "self possession" is used. In the sea, he has no solid perception of home, and hence no solid perception of himself. He doesn't have a defining label anymore - he is no longer the great warrior because the war is over; yet he is not the king because he is not home. When he's lost at sea with no one else around him, it actually causes him to find himself. Odysseus had to come to terms with not knowing who he was. Alone in the sea, he has a blank slate. This "self possession" also saves him from perishing, which stresses how important having a sense of self is. By giving him this self possession, Athena substantially saves
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