The Mastery of Poseidon, Athena, and Calypso in The Odyssey, by Homer Essay

The Mastery of Poseidon, Athena, and Calypso in The Odyssey, by Homer Essay

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“A god is a difficult thing to master.” Homer means that gods can be mastered. Homer does not say that gods cannot be mastered. Basically, Homer says that although it is difficult, it is possible to master a god. Odysseus masters certain gods like Athena and Calypso, but he fails to even be friendly with other gods like Poseidon. Mastery is different for each God. Mastery of Athena is to receive her help, while the mastery of Calypso is to talk with her so there will be no future problems, but it seems Odysseus does not master Poseidon because Poseidon forces Odysseus to voyage for a long time. However, Odysseus does master Poseidon because “his” people, the Phaeacians, help Odysseus get home.
The god who Odysseus could not build a strong relationship with is Poseidon. The cause of the poor relationship between Odysseus and Poseidon that Odysseus blinds Poseidon’s son, Polyphemus, and reveals his name. When Odysseus first meets Polyphemus, he astutely says that his name is Nobody, so if anyone asks who blinded him, the answer would be “Nobody.” However, when Odysseus is leaving the island, he foolishly but proudly says, “If any man on the face of the earth should ask you who blinded you, shamed you so-say Odysseus, raider of cities, he gouged out your eye, Laertes’ son who makes his home in Ithaca!” (227). Not only does Odysseus reveal his name but he also reveals his family members and his homeland. As a result, this release of personal information tells Poseidon who blinded his son, and Poseidon causes havoc for Odysseus.
Odysseus spends even more time at sea because of Poseidon. Poseidon goes out of his own way to create obstacles, like Scylla and Charybdis, for Odysseus. Although it seems that Odysseus never masters Poseidon,...

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... learn that in certain situations, our mistakes in life are magnified. He shows that we should think before we do or say. Additionally, the epic shows that characteristics like adaptability are crucial to our well being. Furthermore, there are things that we cannot control; Odysseus could not control Athena’s help; once he had blinded Polyphemus’ eye, he was unable to control Poseidon’s wrath. Lastly, The Oddysey shows that the relationships and friendships that we build are necessities for our well-being and eventually these relationships are likely to help us. The mastery of Poseidon, Athena, and Calypso teach us all these life lessons, and that is why Homer plugs them into the Odyssey and suggests to us that there is an importance for these masteries.

Works Cited

All quotations taken from: The Odyssey, Homer, translated by Robert Fagles, Penguin Books, 1996

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