The Positive Influence of Gods in the
Odyssey

The almighty, powerful, feared beings in Greek mythology are the gods!
They have many powers and the ability to take the life of anyone in an instant. But
many of them also have another side. What many people don't know is that they are
not all horrible creatures. Many times, gods help and even befriend the mortals.
Many of the gods, like Ino who saved Odysseus, Hermes who aided Odysseus, and
Athena who assisted Odysseus, are a positive interferences in Homer's epic, The
Odyssey.
The white sea goddess, Ino, helps Odysseus on his journey to Phaiacia. He
is about to be smashed against the rough rocks of the island when Ino sees him and
"She pitied Odysseus as he was buffeted about in this miserable way" (Homer 69).
This shows that Ino pities the man and wants to give him a helping hand.
Goddesses who want to help mortals, are a positive influence on them. Ino says,
"'Here take this veil and stretch it under your chest: it is a divine thing, and while you
have it there is no fear that you will drown or come to any harm'" (Homer 69). This is
a good example of how a goddess can help a mortal. By giving Odysseus the veil
she protects him, and for Odysseus, this is a positive interference. Though some
goddesses, like Ino, help mortals reach places, others, such as Hermes, warn them
against danger.
Hermes gives Odysseus advice on how to avoid danger. As if reaching the
land of Circe isn't hard enough, now Odysseus must find a way to get his men back
from her. The person to help, is Hermes. Odysseus reaches the house "'But just as I
was on the point of entering the sacred dell...who should meet me but Hermes with
his golden rod'" (Homer 117). Hermes interferes in Odysseus' journey by stopping
him before he enters the house of Circe. However, this is a positive interference
because he has come to warn Odysseus of danger. Hermes says to Odysseus, "'All
right, I will help you and keep you safe. Here, take this charm...this will keep
destruction from your head'" (Homer 118). In this case, Hermes protects Odysseus.
The protection of Odysseus is a positive interference by Hermes. Odysseus could
not have gone through his journey without the help of Hermes and another protector,
Athena.
Athena helps Odysseus all through his long journey. She constantly shows
up by his side to aid him. After Odysseus finds out that many of his wife's suitors are
living in his own house, he vows to punish them. Athena affirms his decision and
says, "'Of course I will stand by you; I will not forget you when we are about this
business'" (Homer 156). And, sure enough, Athena does not forget him. This shows
that by reassuring him and boosting his confidence, she interferes in Odysseus' life
in a positive way. While Odysseus is fighting his wife's suitors, Athena appears
again. "Athena came near to them in the likeness of Mentor. Odysseus was cheered
by the sight" (Homer 247). Athena enters the fight between Odysseus and his wife's
suitors. However, she fights on his side, making her interference positive. Athena
assists Odysseus throughout his journey.
It is clear that gods and goddesses interfere in the lives of the mortals
positively in the epic, The Odyssey by Homer, because Ino saves Odysseus,
Hermes aids Odysseus, and Athena assists Odysseus. The story of Odysseus is not
only of a brave man who ventures all over the world, but also of the mighty Greek
gods. Though these gods seem frightening, many of them, as you saw in the
Odyssey, actually help mortals.