The god play critical role in Homer’s Odyssey, however none is an ext present or useful than Athena!


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In the Iliad, the gods have prominent and constant roles. Lock are current in plenty of battles and their influence is noticeable throughout the Trojan War.

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The Odyssey reflects the gods together involved, yet in a much much more indirect way. By and large, they it seems ~ to have distanced us from the to work of men.

While Poseidon’s anger towards Odysseus drives the story, the god himself rarely appears. Zeus, too, does no make himself straight known come the lost hero.

The notable exception to the far-off gods in the Odyssey is Athena. The goddess of wisdom and war plays a an important role together a mentor, advisor, and source of strength.

How essential was Athena’s assist in the Odyssey? without the goddess, Odysseus might never have made it residence to Ithaca, and also he definitely would not have regained his throne!

Athena together the Hero’s Patron

The goddess that wisdom and war, Athena, was additionally considered the patroness the heroes. Legendary numbers such as Heracles and also Perseus regularly received help from the goddess on your quests.

While she was a warrior, however, Athena’s greatest gifts were for those who provided cunning and also intelligence to win their fights. In this, she seemed particularly favorable towards Odysseus.

Athena is one almost consistent source that inspiration and assistance in the Odyssey. While she seldom makes herself known at an early stage in the travels of Odysseus, by the time he get Ithaca she proves to have actually played a significant role in his story.

Before the journey of Odysseus began, he and also the other Greek commanders had deserve the ire that the goddess by desecrating her holy place in Troy. If she appears to have actually softened toward Odysseus, however, she stays at a distance.


Athena occasionally appears to Odysseus in dreams and also indirectly helps him v his voyage. Together his trip nears its end, however, she begins to take a much more personal duty in shaping his actions.

Because the Odyssey is told the end of chronological order, Athena’s treatment on behalf of Odysseus occurs in book 5. By this suggest the hero has actually been travel for practically a decade and Athena lastly intercedes top top his behalf.

When Poseidon, who had a long-standing grudge against the Ithacan king, is absent Athena petitions Zeus to enable Odysseus come return home. In ~ his daughter’s request, the king the the god orders Calypso to release Odysseus from her island.

After seven years v the nymph, Odysseus is sent away on a raft. As soon as Poseidon discovers this he sinks the tiny vessel, however Odysseus is conserved by Athena and also a helpful sea nymph.

He washes ashore ~ above the island that Phaecia, wherein Athena disguises herself as a local girl to guide the king’s daughter come Odysseus.

The Phaecians take their guest home, wherein Athena has actually been busy guiding the resides of those Odysseus cares about.

When the hero left because that the Trojan War, his boy Telemachus to be an infant. ~ twenty years, however, Telemachus is grown and his mother, Penelope, is surrounding by would-be suitors.

Athena bring away the guise of Mentor, an old girlfriend of the family, to overview Telemachus in his father’s absence. She motivates him come speak out versus Penelope’s suitors and, believing the males to it is in a threat, arranges a ship to take Odysseus’s child to safety Pylos and also to seek info in Sparta.


When the suitors find out Telemachus is gone, castle conspire to assassinate him as soon as he returns to Ithaca. Once much more Athena travel guide the family, providing courage and also wisdom come Penelope to keep her safe.

Odysseus and Telemachus both return to Ithaca at the exact same time. Athena disguises Odysseus as a beggar for this reason he deserve to sneak right into his palace, but removes the disguise and makes that appear solid and youthful once his son ultimately meets him.

Athena additionally makes Penelope an ext beautiful and also young looking come prepare for her husband’s return.

And Odysseus and also Telemachus work to regain manage of Ithaca indigenous Penelope’s suitors, Athena appears even an ext intent 보다 the king and prince on it spreads widespread revenge. Return she bids Odysseus to find out who amongst them is a an excellent man, she decides that none room worth sparing.

Athena renders Odysseus more powerful in preparation for his fight against the suitors. ~ above the work the suitors will contend for Penelope’s hand, the goddess assures him the he will certainly not fail.

Athena may have actually prevented Penelope indigenous recognizing her husband, however she did inspire the queen to choose a job for the suitors that just Odysseus would certainly succeed at. His bow, i beg your pardon he had actually left behind as soon as he went to war, had been specially strung in a way only that knew and the suitors were charged with restringing it.

When just the claimed beggar regulated to wire the bow, the fight begins. Athena helps Odysseus and Telemachus kill all the wicked men, both striking at foes herself and also protecting them indigenous harm.


When Odysseus and also Penelope are finally reunited, Athena holds back the dawn to give them an ext time together. He then goes come be reunited with his yonsei father even as the families of the suitors move toward revenge.

Athena help Odysseus a last time by preventing a civil battle on Ithaca. She provides his dad the toughness to strike down the leader the the suitors’ families, then commands the civilization of Ithaca to disperse and accept Odysseus as their returned king.

My modern Interpretation

Athena often helped the heroes that Greek mythology, yet she is especially current in the story of Odysseus.


Throughout his story, the heroic king is marked by his wit and intelligence. He regularly uses shrewd to escape the countless dangers the faces.

This characterization provides Odysseus particularly aligned through Athena. The goddess of wisdom was believed to prioritize strategy in war rather than just brute force.

This alignment is not totally left come the reader’s interpretation. Athena herself tells Odysseus the he is choose her since she knows countless tricks as well.

While Athena is the goddess that knowledge, she offers a absence of expertise to assist Odysseus. The disguises and deceptions she employs to keep both her very own identity and also that the the hero an enig are her many frequent kind of assistance.

By depriving others of the understanding of she plans and Odysseus’s arrival, Athena allows the hero to success in his search to return home and enact revenge on the suitors that tormented his wife and also son.

Athena walk not just keep expertise from others, however. She likewise imparts great knowledge.


Much of her aid is not offered to Odysseus himself, however to his son Telemachus. While his father performed heroic feats, the prince to be personally recommend by the goddess.

By guiding Telemachus without revealing she identity, Athena help the young prince to prosper into a future ruler. If he begins the Odyssey unsure of exactly how to deal with his mom suitors and also the risk to his very own position, Athena helps him to become more commanding and also confident.

In this way, the goddess does more than reunite the father and son. She serves together a surrogate to Telemachus, providing him the class in leadership he would have actually been taught by Odysseus.

The gods retained Odysseus away from house throughout Telemachus’s childhood, an initial through the Trojan War and also then v Poseidon’s hatred towards him. By guiding Telemachus, Athena helped to consist of for the action of the gods.

The final publication of the Odyssey defines the reunion the Odysseus and also his kid with his own father, the former King Laertes. Simply as Telemachus has been deprived of his father’s lessons, Laertes has additionally suffered indigenous Odysseus’s absence.

Athena restores the elderly king strength and vitality, help to erase the influence of the hardships he has faced. By the finish of the Odyssey, Athena’s treatment has revived the ideal relationships between the generations that Ithacan rulers and also ensured the the kingdom will continue to be peaceful and also prosperous.

Laertes comments the he is pleased to see his son and grandson as near equates to in valor. Both former kings restored, Athena’s accuse of Telemachus ensured the the heat of strong Ithacan rulers would certainly continue and the country would no permanently suffer due to the fact that of its king’s long absence.


In Summary

Athena serves together a patroness to Odysseus during the Odyssey. While her affect is indirect during the hero’s travels, she plays a vital role in the events that take location in Ithaca.

Athena personally petitions her father, Zeus, to permit Odysseus to return house after ten years at sea. As soon as Poseidon tries come intervene, Athena conserves the hero’s life and brings him to those that will help him.

In Ithaca, Athena is even more closely involved. She bring away on the function of Mentor, one old woman, to guide Telemachus and aid him flourish into a confident leader.

She keeps the prince safe versus the significantly dangerous machinations of his mummy suitors until Odysseus deserve to return. Once the father and son space reunited, she gives them the wisdom and strength to outsmart and overpower the males who have actually taken over your palace.

Finally, Athena ensures the no more violence will spring indigenous the deaths the the suitors. As soon as their family members seek vengeance, Athena forbids escalation that the conflict.

Athena does more for Odysseus than assist him gain back the throne because that himself. She restores vitality to both him and also his father and guides his boy in his absence.

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While the Trojan War and the Odyssey, both caused by the action of the gods, weakened the state that Ithaca, the assistance listed by Athena left the nation stronger and more stable rather of permanently ruined.