Free Essays on Homer's Odyssey: Influence of Gods

Free Essays on Homer's Odyssey: Influence of Gods

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Influence of Gods in the Odyssey

 

      The almighty, powerful, feared beings in Greek mythology are the

gods! They have many powers and the ability to take the life of anyone in

an instant.  But many of them also have another side.  What many people

don't know is that they are not all horrible creatures.  Many times, gods

help and even befriend the mortals. Many of the gods, like Ino who saved

Odysseus, Hermes who aided Odysseus, and Athena who assisted Odysseus, are

a positive interferences in Homer's epic, The Odyssey.

 

      The white sea goddess, Ino, helps Odysseus on his journey to

Phaiacia.  He is about to be smashed against the rough rocks of the island

when Ino sees him and "She pitied Odysseus as he was buffeted about in this

miserable way"  (Homer 69). This shows that Ino pities the man and wants

to give him a helping hand. Goddesses who want to help mortals, are a

positive influence on them.  Ino says, "'Here take this veil and stretch it

under your chest:  it is a divine thing, and while you have it there is no

fear that you will drown or come to any harm'"  (Homer 69).  This is a good

example of how a goddess can help a mortal.  By giving Odysseus the veil

she protects him, and for Odysseus, this is a positive interference.

Though some goddesses, like Ino, help mortals reach places, others, such as

Hermes, warn them against danger.

 

      Hermes gives Odysseus advice on how to avoid danger.  As if

reaching the land of Circe isn't hard enough, now Odysseus must find a way

to get his men back from her.  The person to help, is Hermes.  Odysseus

reaches the house "'But just as I was on the point of entering the sacred

dell...who should meet me but Hermes with his golden rod'"  (Homer 117).

Hermes interferes in Odysseus' journey by stopping him before he enters the

house of Circe.  However, this is a positive interference because he has

come to warn Odysseus of danger.  Hermes says to Odysseus, "'All right, I

will help you and keep you safe.  Here, take this charm...this will keep

destruction from your head'"  (Homer 118).  In this case, Hermes protects

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Odysseus. The protection of Odysseus is a positive interference by Hermes.

Odysseus could not have gone through his journey without the help of Hermes

and another protector, Athena.

 

      Athena helps Odysseus all through his long journey.  She constantly

shows up by his side to aid him.  After Odysseus finds out that many of his

wife's suitors are living in his own house, he vows to punish them.  Athena

affirms his decision and says, "'Of course I will stand by you; I will not

forget you when we are about this business'"  (Homer 156).  And, sure

enough, Athena does not forget him.  This shows that by reassuring him and

boosting his confidence, she interferes in Odysseus' life in a positive way.

 While Odysseus is fighting his wife's suitors, Athena appears again.

"Athena came near to them in the likeness of Mentor.  Odysseus was cheered

by the sight"  (Homer 247).  Athena enters the fight between Odysseus and

his wife's suitors.  However, she fights on his side, making her

interference positive.  Athena assists Odysseus throughout his journey.

 

      It is clear that gods and goddesses interfere in the lives of the

mortals positively in Homer's Odyssey, because Ino saves

Odysseus, Hermes aids Odysseus, and Athena assists Odysseus.  The story of

Odysseus is not only of a brave man who ventures all over the world, but

also of the mighty Greek gods.  Though these gods seem frightening, many of

them, as you saw in the Odyssey, actually help mortals.
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