Free Essays on Homer’s Odyssey: The Goddess Athena

Free Essays on Homer’s Odyssey: The Goddess Athena

Length: 991 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
The Goddess Athena and Homer’s Odyssey

In Greek mythology, there are many, many gods and goddesses that the people prayed to on a regular basis for everyday things we take for granted. There was usually a different deity for anything a person wanted to pray for: love, money, children, success or almost anything else one could think of or want. People today are amazed at the number of gods there were and how people could remember which god did what. We study these today but still get easily confused, which is understandable. Athena was a very prominent goddess, especially in Athens and she is also featured throughout Homer’s Odyssey. Many confuse her with Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Actually, Athena is known as the goddess of war, practical reason, wisdom, and handicraft. She was also known as the protector of the city of Athens.

Athena’s birth in itself, not to mention the other feats she was acknowledged for, is interesting. She is the daughter of Zeus and a mortal woman named Metis which means cunning. When Zeus found out that Metis was pregnant, he became fearful that the resulting child would surpass him in strength. Not knowing what else to do, he swallowed Metis whole. For some reason, this caused him to have a terrible headache so he asked another god to split open his skull with an axe. Athena sprang out from Zeus’ head fully grown holding a spear (Stockton).

Athens began as a city-state which was ruled by a monarchy. As the city-state adopted democracy, Athena emerged as the city’s protectress (Athena Polias) (Athena, par.4). One of her symbols was the owl which Athenians used on the city’s coins (Stockton, 3). She engaged in a contest with Posiden for the rights to the city of Athens and won (Athena, par. 5).

The Parthenon was built on the Acropolis to honor Athena, but mostly because it honored Athens itself to build it (Stockton, 4). The Athenians wanted it to house a giant statue of gold and ivory which was made by a man named Pheidias (Stockton, 1). "Pheidias’ forty-foot high statue of Athena Parthenos consisted of a frame made of wood, metal, clay, and plaster. Athena’s clothing was of gold-plate—made removable in case of emergency. Athena’s face, hands, and feet were of ivory, her eyes of precious jewels. She stood wearing a foot-length dress and a helmet, a crowned symbol of victory in her right hand and a spear in her left.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Free Essays on Homer’s Odyssey: The Goddess Athena." 25 Aug 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay The Women Characters Of Homer 's Odyssey

- THE WOMEN CHARACTERS IN HOMER 'S “ODYSSEY” Homer 's Odyssey is certainly a primarily masculine story, an epic poem centered on the heroic deeds of a universal figure, Odysseus, who is seen returning from the Trojan War in the company of his male comrades. As with its companion work The Iliad, The Odyssey describes the man 's world of war, male camaraderie, and heroic struggle against natural and manmade forces. Seen in this context, the female characters of the epic are decidedly secondary; apart from the fact that Odysseus ' wife Penelope is the source and symbol of his longing to return home, the story does not seem to turn upon their decisions or deeds....   [tags: Odyssey, Odysseus, Athena, Homer]

Research Papers
1308 words (3.7 pages)

Athena As A Great Warrior Essay

- Athena the daughter of Zeus, the goddess of wisdom and strategy and it comes out more clearly throughout the books. And in the book The Odyssey she has a huge role of bringing Odysseus’ back home, and she has a great desire to help him. Throughout Odysseus journey to return home to Troy she has an important role to help to guide him in the right directions. It seems like she is looking after him and trying to protect Odysseus and his son Telemachus. Throughout the books we see how Athena is using the power of disguise....   [tags: Odyssey, Odysseus, Homer, Poseidon]

Research Papers
1120 words (3.2 pages)

Analysis Of Homer 's ' Odyssey ' Essay

- Up to this point in The Odyssey, Homer has introduced several characters, including the gods, Telemachus, Odysseus, and several more. The Gods first appear when they discuss what they should do about Odysseus’s turmoil as he attempts to get home to his wife and, now grown, son. Afterward, Athena appears to Telemachus as Mentor, an old companion of his father, Odysseus. She convinces Telemachus that he should set sail in order to find out if his father is dead or alive and also to take back control of his father’s kingdom from his mother, Penelope’s, suitors....   [tags: Odyssey, Odysseus, Trojan War, Homer]

Research Papers
1018 words (2.9 pages)

Analysis Of Homer 's The Odyssey Essay

- The fall of Troy in the 12th or 13th century BCE and the pursuit of historical/documentation gave inspiration for the composition of Homer’s the Odyssey. Epic poetry is seen by many historical scholars as Homer’s forte. His use of Odysseus as a centralized heroic figure, the heavy involvement of the Greek Gods, plentiful examples of repetition/enumerations, and Homer’s invoking of Zeus’ nine daughters the Muses are all glaring characteristics of epic poetry. These characteristics incidentally make excellent mnemonic devices....   [tags: Odyssey, Greek mythology, Homer, Epic poetry]

Research Papers
928 words (2.7 pages)

Free Essay on Homer's Odyssey: Hospitality

- Hospitality in Homer's Odyssey Hospitality: Greek philoxenia; literally “love of strangers.” Homer might have had such a definition in mind when he introduced the theme of hospitality to his epic poem the Odyssey. A multitude of reasons for the prominent position this theme plays, both in the Odyssey and perhaps in Homer’s own society, are hinted at in the introductory books, often referred to as the Telemachy. Just two of these, namely the hunger for news and the belief in divinity, are illustrated by the words and actions of the hosts Telemakhos and Nestor....   [tags: Homer Odyssey Essays]

Free Essays
547 words (1.6 pages)

Free Essays on Homer's Odyssey: The Gods

- The Gods of the Odyssey Do the Gods in the Odyssey represent the Good and Evil sides of everyone, are they actually there to either help the person, or make their life worse.             In the Odyssey, the Gods seem to have a very huge part in the play.  However, are the Gods actually real?  Or are they just their sub-conscious telling everyone what to do.  However if that’s true, then how could Odysseus’s and his “sub-conscious” spend 7 years on an island thinking that he was somewhere else....   [tags: Homer Odyssey Essays]

Free Essays
726 words (2.1 pages)

Free Essays on Homer's Odyssey: Influence of Gods

- 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....   [tags: Homer Odyssey Essays]

Free Essays
625 words (1.8 pages)

Free Essay on Homer's Odyssey: Order vs. Chaos

- Order vs. Chaos in The Odyssey In The Odyssey, Homer portrays the reoccurring theme of order versus chaos. This theme is particularly evident within the first twelve books of The Odyssey. Homer shows the importance of instilling order where there is chaos or confusion. To eliominate chaos and regain order, a strong hero is needed along with the intelligence to find a solution to the problem. In the first twelve books of The Odyssey Homer shows the need for a cunning hero in order to restore peace where there is chaos through the suitors, the storm off the coast of Scheria, the Kyklopes, and Scylla and Charybdis....   [tags: Homer Odyssey Essays]

Free Essays
819 words (2.3 pages)

Free Essays on Homer's Odyssey: Importance of the Gods

- Importance of the Gods in Homer's Odyssey In Ancient Greek Culture, there were countless gods. They ranged from all mighty Zeus, king of the gods, to Eris, Goddess of discord, and Dionysos God of wine and revelry. Some Gods and Goddesses, like Zeus and Athena, favored Odysseus and Telemachius, helping them on their journey. While others, like Poseidon, gave them serious trouble along the way. The causes of some of these feelings towards the protagonist may be clear, but others aren't so clear....   [tags: Homer Odyssey Essays]

Free Essays
395 words (1.1 pages)

Portrayal of Women in Homer's Odyssey Essay

- The Odyssey:  Portrayal of Women How does Homer portray women in the epic, The Odyssey?  In order to answer this question you must look at woman and goddesses as two separate groups of "people".  This is because they are portrayed in tow separate ways.  You see, a regular woman like Penelope is looked at as beautiful but has very few rights.      If we first look at Penelope we see how beautiful she must be, because we know that she has a lot of suitors staying at her house and they all want to marry her.  It is not until later on that we find out how low in society mortal women are.  The first time this is shown is when Telemukus has to choose one of the suitors to be his mother...   [tags: Homer Odyssey womody]

Free Essays
451 words (1.3 pages)

Related Searches

A shield at her feet portrayed a battle scene…" (Stockton, 1). The term Parthenon actually means "apartment of the virgin" (Stockton, 3) which was one of the other things Athena was known for, which was somewhat remarkable considering most of the other goddesses had many lovers, both mortal and immortal. Building on the Parthenon began on 447 B.C. and was finished in 438 BC. The decoration on the outside of the temple took another eight years after this to finish (Parthenon, 1). The temple remained intact until the fifth century when it was transformed into a Catholic church. The center of the building was destroyed by a powder magazine explosion in 1687 (Parthenon, 2).

The people of Athens held a festival every fourth year in August on Athena’s birthday called the Greater Panathenaia (Panathenaea, 1). It was seen as a civic as well as religious event (Stockton, 7). Contests involving music and athletics were held and afterwards the winners went to the Parthenon and were presented beautifully painted vases holding valuable olive oil (Stockton, 8). An animal sacrifice was offered on an alter east of the entrance to the Parthenon (Stockton, 8). Since Athena was the goddess of handicraft, every time this festival was held, Athenian women would weave a peplos (a special garment) and present it to Athena’s statue. Interestingly enough, even after the gold and ivory statue was housed in the Parthenon, the peplos was still presented to an old wooden cult statue of Athena (Stockton, 8). This was the only time that men were allowed to carry their weapons in the streets, which gives an indication of the age of the festival (Stockton, 8).

In Odyssey, Athena is mentioned in almost every book. In fact, it opens with her appearing to an assembly of the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus and pleaded for them to finally let Odysseus return to his home (Homer, 221). She appears many times to Telemakhos to encourage him not to give up on his father returning home. She insists that he go on a journey to different areas where men who fought with his father lived to inquire about him. She helped him ready a ship and found men to sail it (Homer, 235-238). She repeatedly appears to Odysseus and helps him on his journey home. She is alongside him in strange lands protecting him from harm and making him appear more than he is so people will be more inclined to help him (Homer, 284). She also appears to Penelope, Odysseus’ wife, to make sure she does not lose hope and give in to the many proposals of marriage coming from the suitors who have invaded her home thinking Odysseus will never return.

Apparently, Athena was seen as a very important goddess. Conflicting literature also depicts her as the goddess skilled peacetime pursuits and righteousness along with the other things she was already known for. She was widely respected and prayed to by many people, not just those of Athens. She is depicted as one of the greater goddesses who seemed to help people more than hurt them as other goddess were known to do. Athena was basically known, however, as the city protectress and goddess of war, wisdom, practical reason and handicraft.


Works Cited

"Athena."…0&pt=1&sort=revelance&config=config. (2-8-99).

Homer. "The Odyssey." The Norton Anthology World Masterpieces. Ed. Maynard Mack. U.S.A.: W.W. Norton & Company, 1995.

"Panathenaea."…elevance&config=config&firsthit=off (2-8-99).

"Parthenon."…elevance&config=config&firsthit=off (2-8-99).

Stockton, William, and James Jackson. "Parthenon." (2-8-99).
Return to