Odyssey Essay 1/18/13 Period C
Throughout the history of mankind has looked for guidance from a godlike being or beings. In the Greek epic The Odyssey composed by Homer, mortals’ lives are affected by the presence of the gods, who watch over and even intercede in the lives of individuals. In the modern world it is not common for gods to magically appear. In the modern world today it is implausible that magical intervention such as a ship turning to stone and sinks, an old man suddenly turns into a young man or battles are aided in a fantastical manner are consequences to actions. In the real world divine intervention is hardly plausible to occur.
The presence of gods is seen repeatedly throughout The Odyssey. When gods feels someone or a group of people should be punished for their actions, they usually get their way. Like how the Phaiakians help Odysseus return home Poseidon wants to punish them. Poseidon wants to seek revenge on Odysseus for tricking his son, Polyphemus. So Poseidon asks his brother, Zeus, if he could “impale [the Phaiakians], end her voyage, and end all ocean crossing with passengers” (13.185-190). Even though the Phaiakian sailors are actually doing as Athena wishes, to aid Odysseus in his quest to return home, Poseidon believes they should be punished for doing exactly that. Zeus knows Athena’s wishes but doesn’t want to anger his brother, so he allows Poseidon when he has “caught sight of the ship, [to] let her sink and be turned to stone” (13.194-195). Even though they did nothing wrong, the Phaiakians still perished due to Poseidon’s wrath. Poseidon sinks the Phaiakians’ ship to shoe what happened when the gods are angered. To show what happens when the gods are defied a consequence to action. An event like a ship sinking today would not be credited to divine intervention, much less a specific god and reason. The sinking ship would be explained forensic science, not a god. Happenings like that would not be plausible in the modern world today.
The ancient Greek gods like to meddle unnecessarily in the lives of mortals. For instance, they reunite father and son, Odysseus and Telemakhos. The emotional unifying of the long separated father and son would not happen without a little nudge from Athena. She feels that it was time to reveal to Telemahos that the stranger actually is Odysseus. She believes that Odysseus should “dissemble to [his] son no longer now. The time has come; tell him how you together will bring doom on the suitors in town” (16.197-199). And after she tells Odysseus what to do, she did not even give him the opportunity to tell Telemahos on his own. She changed him from the dirty, old beggar he was into the young man he was before he left Ithaca; withdrawing the disguise she had placed upon him. Surprised by the transformation, he asks in disbelief if Odysseus is a god. Odysseus replies that “no god…I am that father whom your boyhood lacked and suffered pain from lack off” (16.220-222). Both parties are terribly distraught and emotional from this reunion. Father and son are at long last reunited, after the long journey that finally brings them together again. Odysseus was not going to reveal himself to Telemahos, so Athena had to step in and force him, a consequence to his stubbornness. In the modern world it is not common to ask people if they are gods in disguise or for someone to instantly change appearance. Events like that are mystical and completely irrational when they happen anywhere other than fiction.
In The Odyssey, there are several other instances…