Religion has always been significant throughout history. Many people’s lives or jobs are dedicated to religion, to god. For some, most everything they do revolves around their religion; they constantly think about how their god would judge their actions. Homer’s tells the story of Odysseus’s journey home, and how the gods affect this voyage. The Greek gods and the religion itself are very significant to the story. Whether it’s deterring Odysseus on his journey home, helping him along, causing one to harm another, or causing two countries to go to war, the gods are ever-present and a critical aspect to the story.
The SuitorsIn Homer’s Odyssey, it has been sixteen years since Odysseus left his home in Ithaca for war. Many men from other lands thinking Odysseus is dead, intrude his kingdom and try to take power.
Also, not anyone can endure such a long and strenuous journey. A major factor that contributed to the well being of Odysseus is his smooth personality. He knows what to say and when to say it. Meanwhile, Penelope's greatest hardship was having to put up with the nuisances in her household, and for a great deal of time nothing was done about this. Not portraying half as much wisdom as Odysseus, I think Odysseus proves himself to be the wiser character.
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Odyssey Hero Heroes Essays - The Odyssey as a Hero Journey.
According to many experts, true great leadership is found in those who are inspirational, make good decisions, and are committed. Odysseus inspires his crew and his son at critical points in time, allowing for his ultimate success. When Odysseus encounters roadblocks and tough decisions, he has proved he can find a way around the barriers and make the proper choices. Commitment is not even a question for Odysseus; he has shown time and time again he will do whatever is needed to succeed. Without a doubt, Odysseus has shown himself to be a great leader.
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The suitors steal and plunder Odysseus’ hall, feast on his food, take his maids to bed and all the while, each trying to take Penelope’s hand in marriage.1 When Odysseus returns, he knows all about the suitors, and schematically kills all of them with no mercy. One may judge Odysseus’ actions as unnecesary, an suggest alternatives of imprisoning or banishing the suitors, however, in order to judge him we must first determine how the Greeks see things. The Greek worldview is not based on a religion that establishes a set rule of governance, so the Greeks have to come up with their own morals. Naturally, the Greeks want to preserve themselves and their civilization, so anyone who goes against their civilization is almost always dishonorable in the Greek worldview. The worst way one can go against society is by committing treason against an honorable ruler, because he is the heart of Greek civilization. Another influence in the Greek worldview is that of the gods. The gods do not know everything about justice, but if they all agree that something is just, than in the Greek worldview it is just. With this being said, the suitors deserve to die in the Greek worldview. Why do they deserve to die? In the Greek worldview the suitors are evil, death is a necessary punishment for evil when logical, and the gods approve of the suitors’ deaths.
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Another way the gods play an important role in the story is by aiding Odysseus on his journey home. Athena is especially helpful in this way. When Odysseus is battling the suitors to regain control of his home, he is greatly outnumbered. Athena “turns their shots, or all but two” (XXII.303). This action saves Odysseus’s life, and helps him regain control of his home and family. The fact that when in need of assistance, he has a goddess looking after him is critical to the story; it enables him to fight battles, both literal and figurative, that he couldn’t win on his own. Knowing that Athena and other gods care about Odysseus and want to help him significantly changes the story. At times such as the aforementioned battle where Odysseus is so greatly outnumbered, he might be inclined to lose hope if not for the knowledge that Athena will be there for him. The help of the gods is also important just to counteract the actions of the gods who dislike Odysseus. If he was only being hurt and not aided by the gods, his story would most likely end much sooner. The gods’ aid is significant because frankly needs it. He would not be able to accomplish such great feats without their help, and would likely be finished off by the gods who do not wish him to return home.