Conversation Between Athena And Odysseus In The Book 13

797 Words4 Pages
The conversation between Athena and Odysseus in the middle of book 13 reveals how each of them feels and thinks about the other at this stage in the epic. When Athena is first coming to meet Odysseus, after he has landed on Ithaca, she decides not to appear as herself to Odysseus, but first as a “young man… a shepherd boy”, and she then changes back to herself (13.252). She does this to get an honest opinion from him, as if she had appeared as a god, he might not have been honest with her. She also wants to hear his story, and see if he is actually thinking about her. After he does not “recognize” her because of her “endless” shapes, she is angry with him and accuses him of “never getting tired of twists and tricks” (13.340,56,32). She is evidently…show more content…
She then takes credit for his returning and says that she “planned” and “willed” his journey to be how it was (13.346,46). This directly contradicts the statement Zeus makes at the beginning of the epic. The king of the gods claims that the mortals “blame the gods” way too much for their miseries, which he blames on “their own reckless ways” (1.39,38,37). Athena, meanwhile, is saying that she “willed” everything for him (13.346). This contradicts Zeus saying the mortals are to blame, because she says that the gods are decide everything, so they are to blame. Even after this, Athena feels like she deserves more credit for Odysseus’ journey home than he gives…show more content…
Odysseus has clearly learned not to be impulsive in his decision-making from his past errors, for example on the island of the Laestrygonians and that of the Cyclops, his bad decision making cost many of his men their lives. This decision to wait and contemplate where he is and think about his decision is very smart because at his palace, there is a “world of pain” (11.132). If he ran home, he might have been killed by the suitors. This question shows that after suffering so much, he finally has learned patience. In response to this, and his whole speech, Athena praises him and says he is “so winning” and he is “worldly-wise” (13.377,77). She she then added that she can’t “forsake” him in his troubles. This shows that she might be showing some regret for not helping him before, as she commits to staying by his side in the future. After praising him, Athena uses the epithet “self-possessed” to describe Odysseus. Self-possessed means “calm, confident, and in control of one 's feelings; composed”, and by using this Athena is showing she believes Odysseus has these qualities. Odysseus is not the only one whom this epithet is used on, in book two, Homer used “self-possessed” to describe Telemachus, and in book four, he describes Penelope as “self possessed” (13.377, 2.344, 4.124). This cleary runs in the family, as these three people are the only people it is used on in the entire

More about Conversation Between Athena And Odysseus In The Book 13

Open Document