Athena, And The Role Of Women In The Odyssey

1875 words - 8 pages

Homer's great epic, "The Odyssey" was written several thousands of years ago, a time in human history when men played the dominant role in society. The entire structure of civilization was organized and controlled by men; It was an accepted fact that women held an inferior position in society. Society was constructed as if women were around only to serve the men. The involvement of women in any circumstance was almost completely dominated by what the men allowed. The women were valued in society, only they were not given important roles or any decision making power. It is as if they held no power in the ancient Greek society. This is why Homer's Odyssey is very unique, Homer put women into roles that were previously unheard of for women to possess. Unlike in The Iliad, where women served merely as an object to men; female characters of Odyssey are distinctive because they possess personality, and have intricate relationships with the male characters of the Odyssey. By characterizing the women in "The Odyssey", a reader may come to some conclusions about the role of women in this epic. Along with the belief that women played a secondary role to men in society, the female characters displayed certain traits that could not be exhibited by the men. Athena demonstrated the most intelligence and valor out of all the characters in "The Odyssey." The male characters play the most significant roles in this epic, but without the support of the females in "The Odyssey", Odysseus would not have made it through his journey.

Athena is a very intricate and complex character who has a vital role in the epic poem. She is the Goddess of war and battle, a very interesting role for a female to possess. Because she is the Goddess of war, she has great understanding for Odysseus, and the struggle he has been through. She seems the help Odysseus in the most difficult of situations. She becomes involved in the journey of Odysseus, frequently disguising herself to appear as a mere mortal. Also, she sends symbols throughout the epic, by commonly transforming into birds and taking flight over significant events. Even though she gives Odysseus the support he needs to triumph, she allows him to fight his own war against his many foes throughout his journey. Athena also goes to Telemakhos to help him through his own personal mission. Coming to him various times in disguise, and also in his dreams. Athena is a Goddess that is confident, practical, intelligent, and very crafty. She is a master of disguise, which is very important in Odysseus' world. These characteristic make her such an important character in "The Odyssey." It's clear to see that she is the major reason that Odysseus was able to return home safely.

Athena is a Goddess with a lot of power over mortals, but Zeus has the power over the Gods and Goddess. He is the chief and he makes very imperative decisions that affect all Gods and mortals on earth. Athena tells Zeus of Odysseus' fate on the island with...

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