Homer What Is the Proper Essay

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It is Poseidon who serves as a godly foil for Odysseus, blowing his ship off-course right at the start of the narrative, thus offering Homer a story to tell. After all, Odysseus would have made it home twenty years sooner had Poseidon not interfered with the weather at sea. Homer has nothing but respect for the gods, and especially for Athena, with whom he shares a special bond.

The fact that Homer portrays gods with human characteristics also shows that the gods must essentially respect human beings. Homer does not delve too much into the realms of theology or cosmology, but he does implicate that the gods depend on human beings to maintain the basic order of the universe. This is why Athena appeals to her father, Zeus, the highest god in the hierarchy. "Father…King of kings, it served Aegisthus right, and so it would any one else who does as he did; but Aegisthus is neither here nor there; it is for Ulysses that my heart bleeds, when I think of his sufferings," Athena says.[footnoteRef:2] Athena demonstrates the same type of respect for Odysseus in Homer's Illiad, revealing their relationship to be ongoing and meaningful for both parties. There is clearly a moral obligation of the gods to human beings, as Athena's petition to Zeus suggests. Moreover, the gods interact with humans not much differently from the ways humans interact with other humans or the ways gods interact with gods. [2: Homer, Odyssey, Book 1. Searchable: http://classics.mit.edu/Homer/odyssey.1.i.html]

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The proper relationship between the gods and human beings, for Homer, is mutual respect. "The Gods are there to illuminate, comment on and contrast with the depiction of human actions and the human condition."[footnoteRef:3] The gods are the counterparts of human beings, even if they are immortal. [3: Kelly, E. "The Gods in the Homeric Epics," 1.]

References

Homer, Illiad. Online version: http://classics.mit.edu/Homer/iliad.html

Homer. Odyssey. Online version: http://classics.mit.edu/Homer/odyssey.1.i.html

Essay on Homer What Is the Proper Assignment

Kearns, Emily. "The Gods in the Homeric Epics." Chapter 5 in The Cambridge Companion to Homer, edited by Robert Louis Fowler, 59-73. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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