Role of the Gods in the Odyssey

Topics: Odyssey, Odysseus, Poseidon Pages: 3 (1169 words) Published: November 18, 2012
Religion has always been an important part of culture, in present times and even dating back to the times of the Trojan War and before. No matter what religion a person practices or believes in the role of the certain gods believed in has always been important. In three separate pieces we have read we have seen the importance of the gods, or God, play a key role in the development of the literature. In Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, the gods are key in Odysseus’ return to Ithaca after twenty years. Whether it is helping Odysseus or delaying him, they play a major role in the development of the story. In Psalm 139, the scripture passage taken from the Bible, God is a very obvious factor. Even in the poem by William Owen “Dulce et Decorum Est” God again plays a major role once we dive deeper than the words are saying. The role of the gods, or singular God in Catholicism, plays a key role, sometimes unspoken, part.

In The Odyssey we see in the first book three major gods that make an immediate impact on Odysseus’ journey home. Zeus, Athena, and Poseidon all are important in their own way in either helping Odysseus or trying to stop him. Zeus, king of the gods, is characterized as a mediator between Athena and Poseidon, the former helping Odysseus and the latter trying to stop him from reaching home. Athena does all she can to help out the mortal Odysseus, even appearing to him and his son Telemachus in disguise to point them in the right direction. Poseidon, however, hates Odysseus for blinding his son and tries his hardest on multiple occasions to kill Odysseus and his men.

Zeus, for being king of the gods, does not have the most important religious role in this epic poem. He is mostly seen as a babysitter between Athena and Poseidon, allowing Athena to help Odysseus but at the same time punishing the people who help out Odysseus. At one point, after Poseidon voiced his anger, he turns a Phaeacian ship to stone right when it returns because they helped Odysseus...
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