In The Odyssey English Literature Essay
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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.
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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.
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Odysseus and Gilgamesh were two heroes from two different areas, but both were in search for the meaning of life, and have a story to tell about adventures.
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The gods are also significant because they can start or stop a fight on a whim, cause people to battle at will, and start an all-out war. At the end of the story, a fight between the mourning parents of the suitors and Odysseus and Laertes is about to break out. Before it can really begin, Athena says, “’Odysseus, master of land ways and sea ways,/command yourself. Call off this battle now,/or Zeus who views the wide world may be angry’” (XXIV.607-609). Throughout fights break out frequently, during which many lose their lives. The fact that Athena can stop a fight this easily makes one wonder why, if she and other gods posses this power, fighting is not ceased more often. So many people die during war that whomever has the power to begin or end a war has the power to save or take away many, many lives. The gods play an important role in this way by choosing to participate in war, or by choosing, as Athena did, to stop the fighting from happening.