The relationships between the Greek gods and mortals have always been complicated. The gods can be generous and supportive, but also harsh and destructive towards the humans. They claim to be all powerful beings with unlimited power and influence, but in truth, they are far more human than they are perceived. They meddle with human lives, not because they are wise, but because of their own selfish reasons. In Homer’s The Odyssey, gods like Athena and Poseidon interfere with humans to satisfy their own desires, showing that they are just as imperfect and flawed as the mortals that they rule over.
Poseidon, Apollo, Athena, Zeus, and Hermes are all Greek Gods that appear in the epic poem The Odyssey by Homer. These gods all play a significant role in The Odyssey by both helping and hindering Odysseus on his 10-year journey home. Homer illustrates the theme of divine intervention in The Odyssey using Poseidon’s wrath, Athena’s providence, and Hermes’ guidance.
Although Zeus is surrounded by gods who prioritize their own desires and self-interest, Zeus remains the main enforcer of morality which manifests in the forms of enforcing the code of hospitality and the upholding of justice. His sense of morality overrules his self-interest and partiality towards his fellow gods. Zeus maintains his moral values and does not fail to act upon these values when dealing with both gods and mortals, despite the fact that his connections to the gods are deeper than his relationships with humans. In Homer’s world, one of the most prevalent themes is the code of hospitality.
The Odyssey is a well known epic that brings the reader through the tale of how Odysseus and his family reunited. Odysseus spent twenty years away from his son, Telemachus, and his wife, Penelope. He was away for ten years at Troy and spent the other ten years on his journey back to his native land, Ithaca. Within the epic, author Homer reveals characters of gods and goddesses throughout the poem who impacted the families journey. One importantly, was the goddess of wisdom and war, Athena. She stayed present through the entire book playing a very important role in the story as she mentored both Odysseus and Telemachus in their journey to reach each other and regain their place in the palace. Above all Athena is the true hero in the Odyssey as multiple times she would be admired for her noble guidance, strategies, and loyalty.
Homer uses the Gods and Goddesses impact on Odysseus to show how redemption can be earned which is illustrated through Foster's quest theory. Circe, Zeus, Poseidon, Athena, and Helios are gods that symbolize mythological ideas, whereas in the Odyssey they symbolize lessons Odysseus needs to learn. Odysseus is a man that is judged by the gods all the time, he is on a journey to get home to his family from war. Odysseus does not always make the best decisions and it gets himself in big trouble. Circe, the goddess of sorcery, “informs him that in order to reach home he must journey to the land of the dead, Hades, and consult the blind prophet Tiresias” (Homer 699).
Odysseus’ reverence to the gods is shown again after the suitors families and the town learns of Odysseus’ homicide, they come after the royal family. Athena and Zeus come to Ithaca, ordering a peace. Homer describes the event and Odysseus’ reaction, “So she commanded. He obeyed her, glad at heart." (Homer 24.598).
Athena is a major character throughout the book of The Odyssey and is known as the goddess of wisdom and battle. Throughout the course of the book, it is evident that Athena has a weak spot for the main character, Odysseus. Odysseus is trying to return home after the Trojan War, as the other Greek hero’s have already done, however he faces multiple challenges a long the way. Fortunately, for Odysseus, Athena was there to guide him through a few of these troubling situations.
In The Odyssey, by Homer, Athena influences the lives of Odysseus and his family. In Greek mythology, gods challenge and control mortals. Gods also provide support to mortals and thus, mortals depend and act on behalf of the gods and their decisions. Athena, daughter of Zeus, is the goddess of wisdom, and both Telemachus and Odysseus benefit from her power. Athena possesses the ability to disguise herself and others, and this skill allows her to give advice and guidance.
The Odyssey teaches many interesting themes all through the book. I believe the most evident theme was an individual's relation with the gods. “No, it’s the Earth-shaker, Poseidon, unappeased, forever fuming against him for the cyclops whose giant eye he blinded…”
“The Odyssey” is an Epic Poem which discusses the life story of Odysseus. The main focus of the poem is the journey of Odysseus and his way back home. Certain events distract him, most importantly; his encounter with the Gods, Goddesses. It takes Odysseus all of what it takes to head back home, including his bravery and intelligence. These qualities in Odysseus not only help himself but his men survive through the chaos of the journey called “The Odyssey”.
Throughout the story of Odysseus’s journey told by Homer, there are many defining examples of interaction between humans and their gods. The gods primarily interact with humans by either siding with or against them. The gods would often side with humans since they wanted to help them such as Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, helping Telemachus, Odysseus’s son, whereas the gods seeking revenge such as Poseidon, who sought revenge on Odysseus for slaying his son Polyphemus, would turn against them. While actual interaction between gods and humans seems to be a rather risible idea, there was much guidance given to humans by the gods throughout the Odyssey.
However, Zeus saw the two sides of the gods’ feelings towards Odysseus. “‘Great Odysseus/ who excels all men in wisdom... it’s the Earth-Shaker, Poseidon, unappeased,/ forever fuming against him..’” (1.78-83). Zeus created an equilibrium so that Poseidon could take out his anger on Odysseus through punishment, and Athena receives the duty of making sure Odysseus gets home to Ithaca.
For human’s deities are omnipotent, authoritative, dominant and immortal. If there is a need for supplication due to conflict or complication, humans turn towards the divine. Within the Iliad there are various gods who scheme a very significant role in the war of Trojan. The gods are very present, always observing, influencing guiding and most importantly, interfering in the actions of the humans. Athena, Apollo, and Zeus are three very influential divines and their interactions with human characters, along with interference towards the warfare is seen throughout the Iliad.
In the epic poem The Odyssey, Homer portrays Greek gods and goddesses as possessing human qualities and faults. Through their actions and emotions, Homer emphasizes the detrimental effects of lust, envy, wrath, and greed in ancient Grecian society. He also never fails to remind readers of the importance of respect for holy figures because of their powerful abilities to create chaos and wonder". Homer wants to prove that gods and humans share a variety of traits, and the only difference is that god don’t allow these flaws negatively to impact their society. To help further his argument, we can compare Greek gods and goddesses to that of Christianity. These almighty figures are the world’s greatest thing because they never harm humans, they don’t desire sexual needs from mortals, and they don’t expect endless gifts and sacrifices.
Surya Govindaswaami Vidya Madavan English A HL 3 May 2016 The Influence of Divine Intervention on the Portrayal of Fate and Free Will in The Odyssey by Homer The Odyssey is not only considered one of the most prolific mythological epics of all time, but one of the greatest texts written by man. It recounts the arduous journey of the war hero Odysseus, in which he faced a multitude of adversities and obstacles that he had to overcome, as well as numerous challenges upon his arrival.