The Odyssey, by Homer, is about a Trojan War hero, Odysseus, struggling to return home to his wife and son. While Odysseus is experiencing many hardships, which are preventing him from returning home, his wife is being besieged by suitors, and his son, Telemachus is growing up in chaos, without any support of an adult role model. Every child needs at least one role model of their gender, however, the only male role models Telemachus has are evil suitors, until his father returns home. Because he has no paternal role models to encourage him, he is very juvenile and immature, even for the age of nineteen. Because Athena favored Odysseus, she therefore had a liking for his son. Athena also felt sorry that Odysseus was being detained on the Island of Ogygia, by the nymph, Calypso, and could not return home to save his wife and raise his son.
Meanwhile, Telemachus is lost, feeling that he has no identity. In order for him to get some direction, he still needs divine help.
Seeing that Telemachus was in need of direction, Athena feels obligated to help. Athena's main motive for going to see Telemachus is to "rouse [him] / to a braver pitch, inspire his heart with courage (page 80, lines 104-105)" She realizes that Telemachus needs to be advised by a wise older man, she disguises herself as an old friend of Odysseus's, Mentes. As opposed to Athena disguising herself as just some stranger, she disguises herself as a very close friend of Odysseus, an equal, in order to seem more reliable. In the following passage Athena tries to convince Telemachus about her close relationship with his father "As for the ties between your father and myself, / we've been friends forever, I'm proud to say,