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Fate and Justice in the Odyssey

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    The gods in the Odyssey, though they are gods, do not always act in ways showing they are of a higher power then the mortals. They act out in anger and make rash decisions just like any mortal would. Except for the fact that they have powers way beyond that of any mere mortal, and their actions can have monstrous effects on civilizations. It seems as though they try to fairly dish out punishments to those deserving of them and act in ways befitting of gods, but yet at the same time they still rely on basic emotions and are easily influenced to do things that often create disaster.

    The gods seem to believe that mortals can for the most part control their own fate and that they are merely there to punish those that do wrong or to sometimes help those that may be meant for greater things and begin to stray from their intended path. They can control the fate of the mortals but do not always choose to. Only when such a mortal is important to the future of a certain situation will the gods interfere. They do however very much so act as sort of a justice system to punish but also reward.

    Poseidon severely punished Odysseus when he blinded the Cyclops by sending him to Calypso’s island for 10 years and not letting him return home. He then sank the Pheacians ship as it was returning to the harbor to punish them for helping get Odysseus home. Yet at the same time Athena helped Odysseus by going to Zeus and pleading with him to let Odysseus return home. If it wasn’t for Athena’s interference with Odysseus’ fate he would have never completed his journey home.

    What happened with Odysseus shows perfectly that the gods do not have a set code of morals. They do as they please and punish who they feel deserving, they even contradict each other’s punishments. If one god feels a mortal should be punished, but then another god thinks they shouldn’t the gods will work against each other so that each of them can have their way. The gods feel the same basic emotions that mortals do. They get angry (Poseidon to Odysseus), show favoritism (Athena with Odysseus), and they also get jealous just like any simple mortal.

    It is a known fact in Greek mythology that Zeus loved mortal woman, even his wife Hera knew this. He would try to hide and disguise himself so that Hera wouldn’t know, but even so she still found out. Though Hera was a god she was extremely jealous of these women, most of which had conceived children with Zeus, and she would find ways to kill or punish these women and sometimes even their children. Hera’s jealousy towards these women once again shows that though hey may be gods they still act in ways befitting of mortals, and will go against other gods wishes to get what they want. The gods do as they please without thinking of the consequences of their actions, and as a result they have no set of morals or rules they follow. No one person is safe from the gods wrath because although one god may favor you, that doesn’t mean the rest of them will be obstructed from punishing you if they so see fit.

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    Fate and Justice in the Odyssey. (2018, May 19). Retrieved from

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