In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus represents a traveler in life who is destined to make this journey alone, despite those who aid him, oppose him, or in some way interfered with his destiny. Gods and immortals alike aid him when it suits them, or fromsome feeling they have for him. Some gods and immortals also made Odysseuis’s journey as difficult as possible. Some also switched loyalties and arn’t very reliable. The Odyssey shows that even though some believe people can make it through life “goin at it alone,” eventually people need the help of others.
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People need to help each other through life, for no one can ahieve anything alone. Athena helps Odysseuis because she chose him as a favorite, and as her champion. She is determined that her “hero” goes home in victory. Despite Zeus’ warning, Athena defies her father and gives subtle helps to Odyssuis when he needs it. “This is the work of the Plunderer, Athene, who makes me what she will, for she has power, now like a begger, now again a youth in fair attire (157). ” Here Odysseus refers to how Athene made him look like a begger in order to protect his identity, for she wanted him to succeed.
Athene’s fellow god Hermes helped Odysseus to defeat Circes. Hermes told Odysseuis about the plant that would prevent him from being spelled into submission. “Where are you going, hapless man, along the hills alone, ignorant of the land? ” (96). At the request of the other gods, Hermes gives Odysseus the help he needs. Ordinaraly, Hermes would do no such thing, but because more powerful gods had told him to do so, he had to. Another that helped Odysseus greatly was Alcinous. He kindly took care of Odysseus even though he had no idea who it was.
He even held a festival for Odysseus. Then after hearing Odysseus’ tale, Alcinous offered a ship to take him home. Unlike the gods, Alcinous did not do it for his own sake, but because he felt compassion towards Odysseuis. Alcinous represents the kind stranger that sees a man’s need and knowing that he can provide the need, does so gladly. There must be a balance of forces that affect Odyssus. Just as there are some that help him, there are those who oppose him, chief among them being Posidon.
Poseidon was restrained from killing Odysseus by the other gods, so he made Odysseus’ jouney as unpleasant as possible, and delaying his arrival in Ithica. Poseidon is very petty to wreak vengeance on Odysseus for blinding the Cyclops in self defence. If Cyclops had been a good host, non of it would have happened. “Yet still I hope to plunge him into sufficient trouble, (50). ” Poseidon’s son Cyclops also hindered Odysseus’ journey. Cyclops is dumb and barbaric. Because his intelligence is so limited, he is savage and crude and has no fear for the gods, therefor they act in whatever manner they please.
The Cyclops py no heed to aegis-bearing Zeus… ,(85). ” The suitors for Penelope plot against Odysseus and his son. They want Penelope for themselves, even though she has no wish to marry the suitors. They think only of themselves and no one else. “And after we have slain these men, father and son, you too shall die… ,(216). ” Some gods switch sides because of their feelings. Calypso detained Odysseus because of her love for him, but he didn’t return the love. Calypso thought that over time he would come to love her.
But in the end, Zeus commanded her to release him, and out of the love she has for him, she helps him get back home. “… but I will freely give him counsel… ,(47). ” Another immortal that helped Odysseus is Circes. At first, she tried to drug him and turn him into a swine. after Odysseus proved his worth, Circes fell in love with him and decided to have him stay for a while. Then, when Odysseus wanted to leave, she gave him advice and sent him on his way. “None,, no man else, ever withstood these drugs who tasted them… ,(97).
Another that changed opinions was Aeolus. At first he gave Odysseus a friendly wind to be guided, for he pitied Odysseus. But then, when Odysseus came back after his crew betrayed him, Aeolus didn’t want to help. He felt fear that Odysseus’ bad luck would rub off unto him. And so because of superstition, he does not help. “I may not aid or send upon his way a man detested by the gods… ,(92). In the end, even though Odysseus was suppost to make his journey alone, he was met by many allies and foes. In the end he needed help to reach his home. No one can make it alone.