The gods play an important duty in Homer’s Odyssey, but none is more current or valuable than Athena!


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In the Iliad, the gods have significant and continuous functions. They are current in many battles and their influence is apparent throughout the Trojan War.

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The Odyssey reflects the gods as connected, but in a much more indirect method. By and also big, they seem to have actually distanced themselves from the affairs of men.

While Poseidon’s anger toward Odysseus drives the story, the god himself seldom shows up. Zeus, as well, does not make himself directly recognized to the shed hero.

The noteworthy exception to the distant gods in the Odyssey is Athena. The goddess of wisdom and also war plays a crucial role as a mentor, advisor, and also resource of stamina.

How important was Athena’s help in the Odyssey? Without the goddess, Odysseus may never have actually made it house to Ithaca, and he absolutely would certainly not have reobtained his throne!

Athena as the Hero’s Patron

The goddess of wisdom and battle, Athena, was also taken into consideration the patroness of heroes. Legendary figures such as Heracles and also Perseus regularly got assist from the goddess on their quests.

While she was a warrior, but, Athena’s best presents were for those that provided shrewd and also intelligence to win their fights. In this, she seemed specifically favorable towards Odysseus.

Athena is an virtually consistent source of incentive and assistance in the Odyssey. While she hardly ever provides herself well-known early on in the travels of Odysseus, by the time he reaches Ithaca she proves to have actually played a significant function in his story.

Before the journey of Odysseus began, he and also the other Greek commanders had actually earned the ire of the goddess by desecrating her temple in Troy. While she appears to have actually softened towards Odysseus, but, she continues to be at a distance.


Athena occasionally appears to Odysseus in desires and indirectly helps him via his voyage. As his journey nears its finish, yet, she begins to take a much more individual duty in shaping his actions.

Because the Odyssey is told out of chronological order, Athena’s intervention on behalf of Odysseus occurs in Book 5. By this point the hero has actually been traveling for almost a decade and Athena ultimately intercedes on his befifty percent.

When Poseidon, who had a long-standing grudge versus the Ithahave the right to king, is missing Athena petitions Zeus to allow Odysseus to rerotate residence. At his daughter’s request, the king of the gods orders Calypso to release Odysseus from her island.

After seven years via the nymph, Odysseus is sent out ameans on a raft. When Poseidon discovers this he sinks the small vessel, however Odysseus is conserved by Athena and also a valuable sea nymph.

He washes ashore on the island of Phaecia, wbelow Athena disguises herself as a neighborhood girl to overview the king’s daughter to Odysseus.

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

When the hero left for the Trojan War, his boy Telemachus was an infant. After twenty years, but, Telemachus is grown and his mom, Penelope, is surrounded by would-be suitors.

Athena takes the guise of Mentor, an old frifinish of the family members, to overview Telemachus in his father’s absence. She urges him to soptimal out against Penelope’s suitors and also, believing the guys to be a hazard, ararrays a ship to take Odysseus’s child to safety and security Pylos and to look for information in Sparta.


When the suitors learn Telemachus is gone, they conspire to assassinate him as soon as he returns to Ithaca. Once even more Athena guides the family, offering courage and also wisdom to Penelope to keep her safe.

Odysseus and also Telemachus both return to Ithaca at the same time. Athena disguises Odysseus as a beggar so he have the right to sneak into his palace, however clears the disguise and also makes him show up strong and also youthful once his son lastly meets him.

Athena additionally makes Penelope even more beautiful and young looking to prepare for her husband’s rerevolve.

And Odysseus and Telemachus work to reget manage of Ithaca from Penelope’s suitors, Athena seems even even more intent than the king and prince on enacting revenge. Although she bids Odysseus to learn who among them is an excellent guy, she decides that none are worth sparing.

Athena makes Odysseus stronger in preparation for his fight against the suitors. On the day the suitors will contend for Penelope’s hand, the goddess assures him that he will certainly not fail.

Athena might have actually prevented Penelope from recognizing her husband, however she did inspire the queen to pick a task for the suitors that just Odysseus would succeed at. His bow, which he had left behind when he saw battle, had actually been specially strung in a method just he knew and the suitors were charged with restringing it.

When just the intended beggar regulated to string the bow, the fight starts. Athena helps Odysseus and also Telemachus kill all the wicked men, both striking at foes herself and also protecting them from injury.


When Odysseus and Penelope are finally reunited, Athena holds earlier the dawn to give them more time together. He then goes to be reunited through his elderly father also as the households of the suitors relocate towards revenge.

Athena helps Odysseus a last time by preventing a civil war on Ithaca. She gives his father the stamina to strike down the leader of the suitors’ families, then regulates the human being of Ithaca to disperse and also accept Odysseus as their returned king.

My Modern Interpretation

Athena often aided the heroes of Greek mythology, however she is specifically present in the story of Odysseus.


Throughout his story, the heroic king is marked by his wit and intelligence. He regularly offers shrewd to escape the many kind of dangers he deals with.

This characterization renders Odysseus especially aligned with Athena. The goddess of wisdom was believed to prioritize strategy in battle quite than simply brute pressure.

This alignment is not completely left to the reader’s interpretation. Athena herself tells Odysseus that he is favor her bereason she knows many tricks as well.

While Athena is the goddess of expertise, she offers a absence of understanding to assist Odysseus. The disguises and deceptions she employs to store both her own identification and that of the hero key are her a lot of frequent develop of assistance.

By depriving others of the expertise of her plans and Odysseus’s arrival, Athena allows the hero to succeed in his quest to rerotate house and also enact revenge on the suitors that tormented his wife and child.

Athena does not simply keep expertise from others, yet. She also imcomponents good expertise.


Much of her aid is not given to Odysseus himself, however to his son Telemachus. While his father perdeveloped heroic tasks, the prince was personally advised by the goddess.

By guiding Telemachus without revealing her identification, Athena helps the young prince to prosper into a future leader. While he begins the Odyssey unspecific of exactly how to address his mother’s suitors and also the threat to his very own place, Athena helps him to end up being even more commanding and also confident.

In this means, the goddess does more than reunite the father and also child. She serves as a surrogate to Telemachus, offering him the lessons in management he would certainly have actually been taught by Odysseus.

The gods maintained Odysseus ameans from house throughout Telemachus’s childhood, first via the Trojan War and then through Poseidon’s hatred toward him. By guiding Telemachus, Athena assisted to make up for the actions of the gods.

The final book of the Odyssey describes the reunion of Odysseus and also his boy with his own father, the former King Laertes. Just as Telemachus has been deprived of his father’s lessons, Laertes has additionally endured from Odysseus’s lack.

Athena restores the elderly king’s toughness and vitality, helping to erase the affects of the hardships he has faced. By the finish of the Odyssey, Athena’s treatment has actually recovered the correct relationships in between the generations of Ithacan rulers and ensured that the kingdom will remain serene and flourishing.

Laertes comments that he is pleased to check out his boy and grandboy as close to equals in valor. Both previous queens brought back, Athena’s guidance of Telemachus ensured that the line of solid Ithacan rulers would proceed and the country would not permanently experience bereason of its king’s long lack.


In Summary

Athena serves as a patroness to Odysseus throughout the Odyssey. While her affect is indirect during the hero’s travels, she plays an important function in the events that take area in Ithaca.

Athena personally petitions her father, Zeus, to enable Odysseus to rerotate home after ten years at sea. When Poseidon tries to intervene, Athena conserves the hero’s life and brings him to those that will certainly help him.

In Ithaca, Athena is also even more closely involved. She takes on the function of Mentor, an old woguy, to guide Telemachus and help him thrive into a confident leader.

She keeps the prince safe against the progressively dangerous machinations of his mother’s suitors till Odysseus deserve to rerotate. When the father and child are reunited, she offers them the wisdom and also stamina to outsmart and also overpower the guys who have taken over their royal residence.

Finally, Athena ensures that no better violence will certainly spring from the deaths of the suitors. When their families look for vengeance, Athena forbids escalation of the dispute.

Athena does even more for Odysseus than help him reget the throne for himself. She restores vitality to both him and also his father and also guides his son in his absence.

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While the Trojan War and also the Odyssey, both led to by the actions of the gods, weakened the state of Ithaca, the assistance offered by Athena left the nation stronger and also even more steady instead of permanently ruined.