The Complementary Roles of Athena and Odysseus in the Odyssey by Homer

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Odysseus is the hero in Homer's Odyssey while Athena who is the God of wisdom and strategic warfare and Zeus' daughter is his protector. Athena plays a significant role in the character development of Odysseus. She offers challenge and protection to Odysseus and his son, and she is rarely away from both of them. Athena helps Odysseus go back to his family after a decade away at war. Athena assists Odysseus to make decisions by giving him advice, offers special assistance and aids in the development of Odysseus' character through teaching him to be humble, patient, and prudent.

In the relationship between Athena and Odysseus, Athena is a source of inspiration and a protector to the hero Odysseus. At one point during the slaughter of the suitors, she deflects a weapon thrown at Odysseus. She holds Odysseus in great admiration and affection. Despite her being a god and Odysseus being a mortal they treat each other as equals. Her love for him is the kind of love that gods have for their followers. Further, when Odysseus follows the Princess Nausicaa, she makes him invisible so that none of the Phaeacians would challenge him.

Odysseus also becomes a stronger and nobler hero because of Athena's help. Primarily, Odysseus is brave, strong, astute, intelligent, and competent. After returning from Ilium, he finds out that many suitors are after his wife Penelope and with the help of Athena he devises a smart strategy to kill all the suitors (Homer and Rieu 221). Athena admires Odysseus for his wisdom for she is also the god of wisdom. Further, his success in battle impresses her and she makes it her endeavor to assist him in all his fights. She is a faithful standby and guardian in all his matches. After wandering for ten years, he comes back home alive and well after overcoming extreme dangers. Odysseus formulated the plan of the Trojan horse that saved the Greeks during the war. Moreover, with Athena’s assistance, he makes the Island of Ithaca peaceful.

Loyalty serves as a source of inspiration and motivation for Athena and Odysseus in the Odyssey. Odysseus is loyal to his family and the gods. His only objective is to get back home to his family and he overcomes all temptation on his odyssey. At one time, Calypso a beautiful nymph offers him a gift of immortality if he agreed to give up his quest to get back to his family to which he refuses. He also refrains from cursing the gods despite the entire calamity he has to face throughout his journey. At the beginning of the Epic, it is Athena who shows Odysseus that it is around time he reunited with his son (Homer and Rieu 1). In the events that follow, she offers his assistance and never leaves his side. She also makes Calypso release Odysseus by asking her father to intervene.

In Homer's Odyssey, the roles of the god Athena and the hero Odysseus complement each other as Athena acts as a protector and divine intervener for Odysseus. She inspires Odysseus and serves as a source of motivation throughout his odyssey. She helps in the character development of Odysseus since through her actions towards him; he becomes nobler and stronger. The relationship between the two has its basis on loyalty since Odysseus is loyal to his family and the gods and Athena is loyal to Odysseus, and she helps him throughout and never leaves his side. Thus, the respective roles of Athena and Odysseus complement each other.

Works Cited

Top of Form

Homer, and E V. Rieu. The Odyssey (penguin Classics). Cambridge: Proquest LLC, 2011. Bottom of Form

December 12, 2023

Life Literature Science


Hero Books

Subject area:

Hero'S Journey Mythology

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Expertise Mythology
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