World Literature Paper, Odyssey

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The Effects of the Gods on Fate in Epics and Tragedies
Michael Moloney

In both tragedies and epic poems, the gods affect fate in various ways. The epic I will be investigating is The Odyssey. The tragedy I will investigate is Oedipus the King. The gods affect fate in differently throughout these two stories. Since both these stories were written by the ancient Greeks, they perfectly exemplify the Greek religious value that the gods controlled life. The gods control the events of the plot and push the characters towards their ultimate ends, both the heroic, and the tragic.

In the Odyssey, the gods directly put in motion the major events of the plot. They directly interfere with the lives of Odysseus, his men, and the Cyclops. “The strong god glittering left her as he spoke, and new her lady, having given head to Zeus’s mandate, went to find Odysseus…” -Page 753

In this passage, Hermes was sent by Zeus to Calypso’s island to free Odysseus. This supports my statement because if it wasn’t for the actions of Hermes and Zeus, Odysseus never would have left Calypso’s island, the entire story never would have been told, and Odysseus’s fate never would have been fulfilled. “Now Zeus the Lord of Cloud roused in the North a storm against the ships…we saw death in that fury, dropped the yard…and pulled for the nearest lee.” -Page 757

Because of Zeus’s interference, they were disoriented and accidentally sailed to the Lotus Eaters’ Island. By doing this, Zeus set in motion the events that led to everything else in the story and Odysseus and his men had to pass through all their other trials and tribulations on the way back to Ithaca. “Now comes the weird upon me, spoken of old. A wizard, grand and wondrous, lived here… and these things he foretold for time to come:          my great eye lost, and at Odysseus’ hands.” -Page 769, Polyphemus

In this passage, Polyphemus, the Cyclops, reveals a prophecy involving him. When the gods blew Odysseus and his crew...
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