Divine Intervention In The Odyssey

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade December 2001

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The divine intervention of the gods in human affairs is a familiar aspect in the epic poem, The Odyssey by Homer. Throughout the first five books of the tale, there are several occurrences where gods interfere in the lives of both Odysseus and his son Telémakhos. Sometimes these interferences are to push forwards Odysseus' nostros, for example Athena encouraging Telémakhos of the possibilities of his father being alive and to go out and find him; however Poseidon, Odysseus' divine antagonist strives in the opposite direction, trying to prevent Odysseus from ever returning home. Ultimately all of the involvement from the gods in some way focuses around Odysseus and his homeward voyage.

In the first book Athena introduces the idea of divine intervention when she gets Zeus' consent to travel to Ithaka to speak to Telémakhos.

"my own heart is broken for Odysseus,/ the master mind of war, so long a castaway/ upon an island in the running sea/"¦His daughter will not let Odysseus go,/ poor mournful man; she keeps on coaxing him/ with her beguiling talk, to turn his mind/ from Ithaka" (67-77) She speaks with sympathy about Odysseus predicament, because she is the goddess of battle and wisdom she a natural liking for the brave and clever Odysseus. "I shall visit Ithaka/ to put more courage in the son, and rouse him/ to call an assembly of the islanders" (113-5) Arriving in Ithaka she assumes the form of Odysseus's old friend Mentes. Athena speaks in a muted prophecy and in human disguise because she cannot just appear in all her divine glory and tell Telémakhos that her father is still alive. She convinces Telémakhos to set sail and search for his father. With the support of Athena, Telémakhos finally learns to takes some...