Religion in the Odyssey

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Religion of the Odyssey
Without religion in Homer's The Odyssey, The Odyssey would not be what it is. The entire tale is based around history and religion. In Greek mythology the gods are backstabbing and have relations with humans, Homer's society is affected not only but these relationships but also by the unpredictable nature of the gods. The interrelation of the gods is one of a backstabbing nature. The gods go behind each others back to do what they feel is best. Speaking of Odysseus Zeus says "it's the Earth-Shaker, Poseidon, unappeased, forever fuming against him (81)." Poseidon is angry with Odysseus and is set on preventing his journey home; however the other gods go against Poseidon and "put heads together now, work out his journey home so Odysseus can return (91-92)." The gods have little care about the others and if it is in their own interest they will help, or prevent, something to occur. As in the Odyssey the gods go against the will of Poseidon and help Odysseus on his journey home.

The gods have a lot of interaction and relationships with the humans. They have complete control over what goes on in their lives, whether it is to assist or hinder in their lives. It is because "the lustrous goddess held him back… craving him for a husband (18)" that Odysseus was kept from returning home. However, the other gods interfere on Odysseus' behalf. Athena assists Odysseus' son on his quest to find out what happened to his father.

The nature of these relationships and beliefs affect Homer's society because of the way the story was told. The story was not written down but was told via mouth. It was memorized by school children and his works were a large portion of elementary education. Because of this, the children learned a great deal about not only the interrelation of the gods; but also, their relationships with humans. Through the story the society learned that gods had control over their lives and that it was important to try to please them...
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