Influence of gods in Greek culture
The Greek gods and goddesses were said to have great power to the Ancient Greeks. This respect towards these gods is evident in Homer's epic poem, the Odyssey, through how they affect Odysseus’ journey and the actions of others featured in the epic in response to the idea of the gods. The gods and goddesses in this epic, the Odyssey, such as Zeus, Circe, and Athena, greatly impacted the course of Odyssues’ journey for better or for worse.
To begin, Zeus, the eldest of the Olympic gods, is one of the causes for the deaths of Odysseus’ men. After Odysseus’ men killed the cattle of Helios, the sun god, Zeus plotted their destruction by, “[throwing] down on white-hot bolt, and [making] splinters of their ship in the wine dark sea” (918-919). This action destroyed their ships and killed Odysseus’ men when they were finally able to resume heading home. Yet, Zeus also aids Odysseus when he is drifting towards Charybdis and Scylla, as Odysseus even comments, “Never could I have passed her have not [Zeus], this time, kept me from her eyes” (986-988). Odysseus states that if Zeus had not aided him in passing by these monsters, he would have been killed and never been able to return home.
In addition, Circe, the goddess of sorcery, holds Odysseus back at first, but later aids him in his journey. When Odysseus first arrives on Circe's island, she “transforms half of [Odysseus’] men into swine” (summary. 576) except Odysseus who was protected by a magical herb.Circe doing such a thing, held Odysseus and his men from sailing away from the island, causing them to prolong their journey. After Odysseus returns from the Land of the Dead, he returns to Circe’s Island and “[Circe] reveals [Odysseus’] course to him and gives advice to avoid the dangers he will face” (Summary. 580). Each of the dangers Circe warns Odysseus about would have meant the doom of him and his men, but because of her help, they were able to make it through them.
To conclude, Athena, the goddess of wisdom, is one of the divine beings that only benefits Odysseus in his journey. When Odysseus has finally returned to Ithaca, “Athena disguises Odysseus as a beggar” (Summary. 596) in order to get into his former home. This action allows Odysseus to gain the revenge that the blind prophet foretold,
In conclusion, the effects of these gods powers on the journey of these mortals proved to be incredibly influential. Some of the gods efforts set Odysseus back in his path and prolonged his journey, but others aided him in his goal. Without the interference from the gods, Odysseus and his men might have made it back with minimal casualties and in maybe half the time span.