Athena in the Odyssey vs. Virgil in the Inferno Essay

1500 WordsFeb 19, 20136 Pages
Athena in the Odyssey VS. Virgil in the Inferno Two of the greatest works ever written, The Odyssey by Homer and The Inferno by Dante, are detailed, multi-sectioned poems about the journey’s of two men. In each story, the main character is given some sort of guidance by another character in order to aid them in their travels. In The Odyssey, Athena is portrayed as the protector to Odysseus on his journey back home from the Trojan War to his family in Ithaca. In The Inferno, Virgil is requested to lead Dante through the depths of Hell in order to save his soul. Many similarities can be seen between the two characters as they both served as advice givers, protectors, and guides for the main character. While the two guides seem very…show more content…
Athena appears to Odysseus in the form of Mentor and tries to motivate Odysseus to kill all the suitors off with threats and accusations. She even commands the suitors to through their spears at Odysseus all at once. “At his command,/ concentrating their shots, all six hurled as one/ but Athena sent to whole salvo wide of the mark…” (Ody. 22. 267-269). Odysseus sees that all of his men are untouched by the suitor’s spears, and this action propels him to take charge and lead an attack on the suitors. Each time Athena guides or protects Odysseus, it’s in order to save his life. She desperately wants Odysseus to get home because Odysseus is a war hero and a King, very much deserving of a safe return home. Athena thinks very highly of Odysseus because he is such a great warrior and she feels he exemplifies the virtue of excellence. It’s easy to see how the ideals of society on life and death in Homer’s 7th Century BC times are portrayed through Athena’s help. The people of this time were most concerned on how you lived your life during the time you had. For them there was no glorious afterlife, so there was no need to try and save your soul to reap the prize of a great time after death. Homer uses Athena as Odysseus’s guide to get back home and live out the rest of his life the way he pleases. He’s spent his time as a warrior and won his most important battles before the beginning of the poem, so now he deserves to live out the rest of his life in peace with

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