Theme of Justice in the Odyssey and the Bible

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Theme of Justice in the Odyssey and the Bible Justice is a theme that differs in many different texts, and this also true in the Odyssey and the Bible. Justice in Homeric texts was served to neutralize a situation and bring things back to the way they were, to a time of stability and respect for authority. The bible has usually been interpreted, however, as serving justice on a moral basis, as a way to punish those who did not respect each other or act in God likeness. The Greeks in the Odyssey viewed justice as only coming from the gods. They believed the gods punished them because they have fallen out of their favor, and not because they had really done anything wrong by human standards. As Socrates later stated in the Euthyphro, what is holy, and perhaps then just, is what is “approved by the gods.” Although Socrates proved this to be wrong, it still shows the view of most Greeks. Zeus in the opening book of the Odyssey stated, “Upon my word, just see how mortal men always put the blame on us gods! We are the source of evil, so they say- when they have only their own madness to thank if their miseries are worse than they ought to be.” This shows that the Greeks feared justice; they felt it was negative and often undeserved. However, each Greek deserved his punishment because he has a hand in its reason. For example, when Odysseus’s troops killed the cattle of Helios, they deserved Zeus destroying their ships because he had warned Odysseus beforehand not to let the men eat the cattle. When the Greeks disobeyed the gods, they disrupted the right order of things, and when the gods punished them, they made the other Greeks respect them once again, and thus fixed the balance of the world. ... ... middle of paper ... ...n a game. Gods in the Odyssey used justice to be feared and gain respect, and God in the Bible used justice to show love to his faithful disciples and to help his stray sheep stay on the path and learn his love for them. Works Cited and Consulted Bloom, Harold , Homer's Odyssey: Edited and with an Introduction, NY, Chelsea House 1988 Crane, Gregory , Calypso: Backgrounds and Conventions of the Odyssey, Frankfurt, Athenaeum 1988 Heubeck, Alfred, J.B. Hainsworth, et al. A commentary on Homer's Odyssey. 3 Vols. Oxford PA4167 .H4813 1988 Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fitzgerald. New York: Vintage Books, 1989. Stanford, William Bedell. Homer's Odyssey. 2 Vols. Macmillan Tracy, Stephen V. ,The Story of the Odyssey Princeton UP 1990 "Gospel of Matthew". The Holy Bible. New Revised Standard Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1989.

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