The Role of Athena

Topics: Odyssey, Athena, Odysseus Pages: 3 (984 words) Published: May 2, 2012
Behind Every Good Man, There is a Good Women
In recent decades the role of women in society has seen tremendous improvement. Male dominance dates back thousands of years, and has been that way until recently. Women have always been given inferior roles at home, at work, and in the community, but when Homer wrote “The Odyssey” over 3,000 years ago the role of women played a significant role in Odysseus’s journey back to Ithaca. In particular, the role of Athena is arguably the most important role to Odysseus. Without the help Odysseus receives from Athena, he wouldn’t be the most well known epic hero of all time.

Athena is important to Odysseus due to her role as the goddess of war and battle, and as a Greek war hero, Odysseus receives much favor from Athena. She frequently disguises herself in order to help Odysseus. She appears as a little girl, a Sheppard, and even a friend of Odysseus in order to look after and guide Odysseus back to his kingdom. Athena helps him “During this meditation, a heavy surge was taking him, in fact, straight on the rocks. He had been flayed there, and his bones broken, had not Athena instructed him: he gripped a rock-ledge with both hands in passing and held on, groaning, as the surge went by, to keep clear of its breaking” (Homer 105). Despite the help Athena gives Odysseus, she still allows him to be the hero by not interfering too much. Athena allows him to fight his own battles against his many enemies on his journey, but she is always there to look after him.

As the goddess of war Athena understands and cares about the troubles Odysseus encounters on his journey. Athena continues to help Odysseus but she only has limited power over the mortals. She needs help from Zeus in order to save Odysseus. She goes to Zeus and speaks on Odysseus’s behalf, persuading Zeus to allow him to escape Calypso’s Island by saying,

O father Zeus and gods bliss forever, let no man holding scepter as a king think to be mild, or kind, or...

Cited: Homer, and Robert Fitzgerald. The Odyssey. Garden City, NY: Anchor/Doubleday, 1961. Print.
"Studyworld: Study Guides, Research Papers, Book Reports, Essays." Studyworld: Study Guides, Research Papers, Book Reports, Essays. Web. 30 Apr. 2012. <>.
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