Relationships Between Gods And Mortals As Demonstrated In The Odyssey

1096 words - 5 pages

Relationships between Gods and Mortals as Demonstrated in The OdysseyThe Ancient Greeks were a race of very religious people who believed strongly in their gods and goddesses. Not only did they believe in the presence of their gods, they actually believed that the gods often intervened in their lives. Due to such a strong belief, the Greeks held their gods in the highest regard and had the utmost respect and reverence for them. Furthermore, they established certain types of relationships with their gods, usually not relationships in a physical sense, but relationships nonetheless. Many examples of such relationships are evident through the relationships demonstrated between characters ...view middle of the document...

He finally takes charge, taking the initiative to find his father and confronting the suitors. An example of Athena's guidance is when visits Ithaca, giving him friendly advice under the disguise of being a stranger. She gives him a nudge in the right direction, at one point saying, "If I were you, I should take steps to make these men disperse" (1. 318-319). Yet another example of such positive divine intervention is through the relationship between Athena and Penelope. The grey-eyed goddess respects Odysseus' cunning wife and sometimes soothes her loneliness by helping her sleep. At the end of the epic, she even makes the night longer so that the lovers would have more time to get reacquainted. As Homer writes, "The rose Dawn might have found them weeping still had not grey-eyed Athena slowed the night" (23. 271-272). Athena's goodwill helped mortals on numerous occasions in The Odyssey, demonstrating an example of the relationship between the Greeks and Gods where the mortals' reverence was rewarded.On the contrary, another type of relationship is where the gods are rather indifferent to the mortals, despite their praying and sacrificing. Examples of this are present in Homer's epic as well. For example, as Zeus ponders the situation of Aigístos and Orestìs, he muses, exclaiming, "My word, how mortals take the gods to task! All their afflictions come from us, we heard. And what of their own failings" (1. 48-50)? This is a perfect example of how contrary to the belief of some mortals, the gods did not control every insignificant detail of their lives. The gods were at times uninterested in meddling in mortal affairs. Another example of this relationship is through that of Zeus and Odysseus. Zeus admires Odysseus, asking Athena, "Could I forget that kingly man, Odysseus" (1. 87)? However, though Zeus knows exactly what has been going on with Odysseus and respects the wisdom of the mortal, he would not have taken the initiative to help him without Athena's pleading, showing his practically indifferent attitude. However, he...


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