What roles do the gods and goddesses perform in the Odyssey? How important are they to the story?
In the Odyssey, the lives of the mortals are in the hands of the Gods. The main hero, Odysseus, greatly depended on the roles of the Gods and Goddesses in securing him a safe journey home to Ithaca. The mortals in the Odyssey are scared of the gods of their great power and influence in their lives. Therefore, they try to act in a manner which will not offend the Gods.
The roles of the Gods and Goddesses are a mixture of good over evil which is important to any good story. The super-natural powers of the Gods enables the mortals to interact with them for good or bad. Odysseus was a favourite of the Gods and had most of them on his side and were willing to help him whenever faced with danger.
The roles of the Gods Athene, Zeus, Hermes, Aeolus, Circe and Ino are ones of guidance and practical support. They all play a very important role to the plot of the story. In particular without the help of Athene’s powers, Odysseus would not have made it back to Ithaca. However the other Gods, Poseidon and Calypso made it difficult for Odysseus to return home. This is what made Odysseus’s voyage an Odyssey, while Athene helped him survive throughout the toughest times, Poseidon did his best to cause trouble for Odysseus and make him suffer by delaying his journey home.
Poseidon’s role is of the villain who tries to kill the hero but Zeus the God of all Gods would not allow him to do so. Odysseus does himself no favours by blinding Poseidon’s son the Cyclops and subsequently uses his powers for evil rather than good. He wants revenge and takes his anger out on the man who hurt his son. He makes the sea so dangerous and almost impossible for Odysseus to continue his journey home.
The Goddess Calypso’s role in the Odyssey was to show Odysseus’ loyalty and devotion to his wife, Penelope. Odysseus was stranded on the island of Ogygia with the beautiful nymph, but only...