Rasie Turner Ms. Neff English 1030 22 September 2010 The Odyssey Greek gods and goddesses are very important in the Greek culture. There are a few Greek gods and goddesses that play very important roles in The Odyssey. They are Athena, Zeus, Poseidon, and Circe, and Calypso. The relationship between the mortals and the gods are very interesting. Everything that happens in this poem, dealing with the mortals, is related to one of the gods. Without the gods, Greek culture and literature would be nothing. Zeus is the king of the gods. All of the other gods and mortals look up to him.
If anybody needs approval of something, they go to Zeus for the answer. For example, when Odysseus was trapped on Calypso’s island, Athena went to Zeus to get him to help Odysseus off of the island. So Zeus sent Hermes, the messenger of the gods, to Calypso to tell her to release Odysseus form her island. Zeus is very important in Greek literature, and culture. This epic poem starts off with Odysseus trapped on a beautiful, nymph goddess’ island. Her name is Calypso. She held Odysseus on that island for seven years before she let him go.
She had fallen in love with him and would not have let him go unless Hermes had not ordered her to. This shows some of the principles in Greek culture. Women were not as important as men. There were plenty Greek gods that messed around with different mortal women, but when Calypso fell in love with one she had to give him away. The fact that she did not willingly give him away shows some of Calypso’s personality and spunk. She offered Odysseus immortality if she stayed on the island with her. Even though he denied, she did try her hardest to get what she wanted and thought she deserved.
Circe is also a beautiful Greek goddess who trapped Odysseus on her island. After escaping the land of the Laestrygonians, cannibalistic giants who suddenly attack and devour Odysseus’ crew, they land on an island named Aeaea. Sadly, Odysseus’ ship was the only ship to survive and land on this island. Circe contains a drug that can turn people into pigs. She gives this drug to Odysseus’ crew which turns them into pigs. Odysseus goes to save his men when Hermes, the messenger god, intervenes again and approaches Odysseus as a young man. He tells Odysseus to eat an herb that will protect him from Circe’s drug.
Odysseus saves his men and forces her to change them back to humans. Odysseus is very lucky to have Hermes and Athena on his side because they help him out tremendously throughout this poem. This shows that if you are a mortal and have a good relationship with a god, such as Hermes and Athena, you are guaranteed to overcome the obstacle at hand. Instead of Odysseus leaving immediately from Circe’s island, he ends up staying there a full year as Circe’s lover. He loves living in the luxurious life so much that his men have to talk him into leaving her island.
Unlike Calypso, Circe willingly let’s Odysseus go and even helps him out. She gives him gifts from her island for the trip and also gives him directions on what he has to do in order to get home. This is also another example of it being beneficial to have a god on your side. Poseidon is the god of the sea. Odysseus was lucky enough to have Athena and Hermes on his side, but Poseidon was a different story. Poseidon did not like Odysseus at all because of what Odysseus did to his son. Poseidon did everything in his power to keep Odysseus form getting home.
When all the gods got together to decide Odysseus’ future Poseidon was not able to be there because he took a trip to Ethiopia. This allowed Athena to step up and convince Zeus that he had been away from home long enough. When Poseidon sees Odysseus at open sea, he sends a violent storm that nearly kills Odysseus. This shows the strength and power of the gods. Luckily, Athena was still on Odysseus’ side and helped him land on an island called Scheria. Athena is the goddess of wisdom and battle. This automatically causes her to be attracted to Odysseus.
She helps him through so many different trials and tribulations. The relationship between them is very much like a guardian angel. For example, when Odysseus had to fight the unfair battle against the suitors, Athena made Odysseus a little stronger to help him out more. She also gave him the assurance that he can beat the suitors even if he was out numbered. Not only did Athena help Odysseus, but she helped his family too. She helped Telemachus by disguising herself as Odysseus’ old friend and convincing Telemachus to become more of a man and find out where his father is.
She also helped him get his name out because when he traveled, the people that knew Odysseus could now identify Telemachus as his son. She usually helped Penelope by coming to her in dreams. Without Athena in Odysseus’ life, he would not have made it through most of the tough situations he was in. The relationship between the gods is a lot like how the humans treat each other. Women were still treated the same no matter if u were a goddess or not. Even though Zeus is a god he was still allowed to fool around with mortal women, but when Circe and Calypso do it, they get him taken away by the other gods.
It is a little odd that they all have different special powers but they still look up to another god which is Zeus. Greek religion is a religion that is very fun to learn about. Learning about the different gods and what they do and what their specialties are is very interesting. From The Odyssey we can learn that most of the Greeks are very loyal to their religion/gods. Whichever god favors the Greeks, will most likely get many offerings and prayers. Of course there are some odd cases, like the suitors, that do not follow the Greek religion and the laws.
In the end, they were punished and killed. This could also show more about the Greek religion. If you do not follow the gods, they will punish you. The Odyssey is a great book to enlighten people on the Greek culture. It also allows the reader to see the different relationships and interactions between mortals and gods. Greek gods and goddesses played very important roles in The Odyssey. They either hindered or helped Odysseus in very major ways. This poem is great and will probably always be recognized as a important part of Greek Literature.