Relationship of Odysseus and Athena with that of Job and God

Gods are infinitely superior to human beings under the Ancient Greek Myth. This superiority is stretched to the extent that they have no concern for the mortals regardless of anything unless and until they fall in love with them or use them as toy.  The Ancient Greek literature describes that these gods are always preset in some way or a form in between the mortals. Irrespective of the purpose, whether it is good or not good, they are present. In some cases, the gods become extremely interested and involved in the lives of people or a particular person. With the gods and humans interacting, what if there are chances of a relationship between them? In numerous Greek writings, this relationship has been evident, but what is the purpose of this relation? The first question basically asks whether the gods need humans. If the gods are as powerful as they are imagined, why would they require a bunch of weak mortals? The gods simply want to be idealised and worshipped so they create human beings to worship them. This paper discusses the relationship Odysseus and Athena have with that of Job and God. Odysseus who is wise kind of Ithaca joined the Greeks during the Siege of Troy. He mainly relies on intelligent tactics as much as other heroes of Greek writings like Achilles. Achilles, one of the greatest hero of all times, enters into a mental state called aristeria in which he is gets so angry that he turns into a terrifying and uncontrollable warrior.

With the help of his tricks, Odysseus comes up with the idea of Trojan horse that allowed the Greeks entry into Troy and was the reason behind their victory over the inhabitants. Due to his two amazing skills of fighting in field and tactics off files that endears him to Athena, the goddess of war and learning. She was always able to beat her brother, Apollo, who was the god of war and bloodhed in battles in which they only engaged for fun. In past, there have been few stories in which the relationship between the gods and the mortals has been defined as being as intense as between two characters. In the form of a swallow, Athene later appears to keep an eye of Odysseus and his son, Telemachus.

Athena provides indirect assistance to Odysseus. She disguises herself as a human and appears in someone’s dream to direct him to the right path. The Greek mortals interacted with their gods in some medium, in contrast to the Hebrews who interacted with their gods directly as their prayers were said directly to the gods. The Hebrew tends to be more respectful to their gods as compared to Greeks. There are numerous times in Illiad and Odyssey where the orders of the God were left unattended or defined. An example can be found in book 11, where the prophet warned Odyssey along with his crew, to not touch the flacks of sun. They did not act on the advice and were then punished by Zeus. Greeks have more self belief as compared to the Hebrews. In times of crisis, their recklessness and arrogance sometimes even results in discounting the god’s saying. The relationship between the Odysseus and Athena can be compared very closely to that of Job and God because of the harmonious coexistence that was present between them. Athena acts as a sort of a protector of Odysseus.

In book 1 of Homer The Odyssey, Athena goes to Ithaca to induce Telemachus that he needs to search information about his father. Throughout the conversation, she never forces him to go for a look but tries to convince him to find his father (Homer, translated by Fagles, Robert, The Odyssey, 1.184 – 366). It is evident that Athena wants Telemachus to go find his father but because she is unable to control him and his actions. By using his free will, Telemachus could have easily said no to Athena. It makes it look like gods have the control over person’s life and they are able to use threats and ultimatums to make mortals act in a certain way. These actions include sacrifices, rituals and if a person says no to these rituals, the god takes an action against them.  Moreover, an example of the crew of Odysseus eating the cattle of the sun of god after being told not to resulted in creation of many problems for them.

Job, even being confused and sad about what happened to him, had faith in god and was never disappointed. “I came into this world with nothing, and I will leave with nothing” he said, as the praise belongs to the god.  The Hebrews strongly believed that everything that was given to them belonged to the God and they should accept whatever is given to them by the God, even when they do not understand it as God must have his reasons behind it and he knows better than the mortals. In Hebrew religion, God is omnipotent. Satan is only allowed to do bad things to Job if it is the will of God. God rewards Job when he proves his loyalty to him. However, in the Greek religion, Gods can have different opinions that can even conflict at times about different issues. In book 5, when other gods decide and agree to save Odysseus, Poseidon tries to kill him by stirring up a storm. Therefore, in general concept, God in the Hebrew religion guides and helps those who follow his teachings and obey his rules and commands and he does not offer help until mortals have proven their worth.

“I that am always with you in times of trial, a shield to you in battle…” (pg 368, ln356) Athena is constantly around Odysseus and protects him in his journey as well as guides him. This is similar to the relationship between Job and God due to the continuous care and guiding journey they have. Even though, the protection of Athena is much more directed towards Odysseus, God can be observed as the protector of Job. Although, Job endured many hardships as per the orders of God, he was constantly under his watch and protection. These two relationships show somewhat similarity as per the idea that how Odysseus and Job worship their gods freely and without hesitating even for a bit. Moreover, it is also evident in both, Hebrew Bible and story of the Odysseus, that the main characters are being compared to their higher beings. It is stated in the Hebrew bible that the God created man in his image. Furthermore, in Odysseus, Athena expresses that “No more of this though. Two of a kind, we are, contrivers, both. Of all men now alive you are the best in plots and storytelling. My own fame is for wisdom among the gods- deceptions too” (Pg 368, ln 350).

Readability usually commutated as a characteristic in humans, and it is intriguing that gods understand in this way. It is almost as that the gods envy mortals as much as they envy them. The ancient Greeks gods had a relationship with their creations; humans. They created them to glorify themselves however; it was a give and take relationship. In return of honouring and offering sacrifices, gods guided and assisted the humans. The gods were also able to influence the actions of humans but they were unable to directly control them. To some extent it seems like both of these gods tend to favour the people who resemble them the most. This can be taken as a tendency of gods to give priority to those mortals to whom they can relate.


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