Athena’s Role in the Odyssey
A familiar theme in many Greek classics is divine intervention. In the great epics of this time period, the gods would play an immense role in the lives and fates of mortals. In The Odyssey, written by Homer, Athena particularly favors Odysseus, great kind of Ithaka, and his family. Throughout Odysseus’ struggles and times of need, the goddess acts like a guardian angel and takes an essential and irreplaceable part in the story. Athena moves the story of The Odyssey along. At the opening of the book, Athena begs her father Zeus to allow her to aid Odysseus, so he can return to his family, after being trapped on Ogygia for a decade. Athena appeals to the god’s better senses and plays on their sympathy for Odysseus. She says, "My own heart is broken for Odysseus". Athena also guides Telemachus onto the path of manhood and the search for his father. Athena says, "My advice to you is this, if you will let me advise you. Get the best ship you can find, put twenty oarsmen aboard, go and find out about your father and why he is so long away. Perhaps someone may tell you, or you may hear some rumor that god will send, which is often the best way for people to get news." Athena saves Odysseus from certain death at many points in the story. For example, she saves him from Charybdis. “Then his skin would have been torn off and all his bones broken, if Athena had not put a thought into his mind; he flung himself upon a rock and caught hold with both hands, and clung there groaning, until backwash rolled upon him again, and caried him far out into the sea." Athena helps plot and plan the fall of the suitor’s in Odysseus’ house. Moreover, she disguises Odysseus once more as a beggar to exact his revenge on the suitors. "Odysseus awoke. He lay on his native soil, and knew it not, since he had been long absent. For Pallas Athena herself, that divine daughter of Zeus, had covered the place with mist, that she might tell him...
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