The Odyssey Essay

Submitted By Erin-Caracol
Words: 799
Pages: 4

A Woman's Power The goddess Athena in The Odyssey is portrayed as strong willed and is shown to have high influence over the heroes and gods in the epic poem. Athena had power among and over men many times, almost contrary to most Greek societies around the time The Odyssey was written. Athena, of course, wasn't the only female with influence over men; but, her influence can be seen as more impactful to those around her because she stills leaves them with their own free will to choose whether or not to heed her word. In the beginning, Athena tells Telemachus, son of Odysseus, to search for word of his father, "Fit out a ship with twenty oars, the best in sight, sail in quest of news of your long-lost father." ( Ln 322-323, Bk 1) Even though Athena was disguised, he agreed to do as she advised, "'Oh stranger,' heedful Telemachus replied, 'indeed I will...'". ( Ln 352-353, Bk 1) Telemachus could have said no to her and stayed a servant to the suitors within his own home. Not knowing her disguise nor that she was a goddess, he listened and used her advice showing he was still under her influence. Even when he doubted himself, "' How can I greet him, Mentor, even approach the king? I'm hardly adept at subtle conversation.'" ( Ln 24-25, Bk 3) Telemachus went through with Athena's plan, later speaking to the king, " Poised Telemachus answered, filled with heart, the heart that Athena herself inspired..." ( Ln 84-85, Bk 3)An argument against Athena of course would be that Telemachus was a mere mortal man, and Athena was a goddess of Olympus. Athena did not just have influence over regular men but, seemingly greater heroes. Athena was depicted several times in The Odyssey, helping Odysseus on his way home changing his appearance for various reasons. More often than not to gain favor through women, "Athena made him taller to all eyes, his build more massive now, and down from his brow she ran his curls like thick hyacinth clusters... glistening in his glory, breathtaking, yes, and the princess gazed in wonder..." ( Ln 254-263, Bk 6). Not until late in the book did Athena have direct influence over Odysseus when she urged him to reveal his true identity to his son. Athena, being highly respected by Odysseus, quickly did as she said. A hero great as Odysseus knew when to not spur a woman's temper, especially a goddess. When Telemachus visits King Nestor according to Athena's command, the king talks about the relationship between Athena and Odysseus, "' I've never seen the immortals show affection as Pallas openly showed him, standing by your father...'" ( Ln 251-252, Bk 3) Her affection though was not as deeply felt as that of Circe and Calypso's towards Odysseus. Knowing how those two beautiful women's influence on Odysseus was over somewhat trivial and less honorable, Athena's influence which was out of respect seems greater. Indeed much greater