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The first time that Athena appears in The Odyssey was in Book I when Zeus calls a divine council. Athena is there and interrupts her father. She asks Zeus about Odysseus and if he will allow him to return to. Zeus replied by saying, "could I forget that kingly man, Odysseus? There is no mortal half so wise; no mortal gave so much to the lords of open sky." So you can tell that Zeus does like Odysseus. Athena then tells Zeus,
" O Majesty, O Father of us all, if it now pleases the blissful gods that wise Odysseus reach his home again, let the Wayfinder, Hermes, cross the sea to the island of Ogygia; let him tell our fixed intent to the nymph with pretty braids, and let the steadfast man depart for home."
"For my part I shall visit Ithaka to put more courage in the son, and rouse him to call an assembly of the islanders, Akhaian gentleman with flowing hair." After Athena says this she heads to Ithaka disguised as Mentes a Taphain chieftain who is an old trusting friend of Odysseus. She has disguised herself because she wants to convince Telemakhos that he is old enough now to find his father. Telemakhos is upset at the suitors and daydreams of his father returning home and punishing them. Telemakhos says to the gray-eyed Mentes,
"Friend, now that you ask about these matters, our house was always princely, a great house, as long as he of whom we speak remained here. But evil days the gods have brought upon it, making him vanish, as they have, so strangely."
Athena understands the pain that Telemakhos is going through because of her love for Odysseus. When Athena leaves she put a new dream in Telemakhos head of his father still being alive. Not too much longer in the story though Telemakhos is at the seashore and is praying to Athena for help since he has no crew and he fears the suitors. Once again Athena appears as Mentes to help lift the spirits of Telemakhos. Athena tells him,
"You'll never be fainthearted or a fool, Telemakhos, if you have your fathers spirit; he finished what he cared to say, and what he took in hand he brought to pass. The son is rare who measures with his father, and one in a thousand is a better man, but you will have the sap and wit and prudence-for you get that from Odysseus-to give you a fair chance of living though. So do not mind the suitors and their ways, there is no judgment in them, neither do they know anything of death and the black terror close upon them-doom's day on them all."
This is why Athena is so important in the story. I do not think Telemakhos would be able to go looking for his father with all the suitors left at his home. He would be to scare. Athena disguised as Mentes gives Telemakhos that confidence. Then when Telemakhos needs a crew Athena says she will take care of that. She disguises herself as Mentes and goes in town and finds him a crew. Once She leaves Telemakhos she changes herself into Telemakhos to talk to the town's people. So now Athena has convinced Telemakhos
Quotes talked about in this paper
- Athena tells him, "You'll never be fainthearted or a fool, Telemakhos, if you have your fathers spirit; he finished what he cared to say, and what he took in hand he brought to pass. The son is rare who measures with his father, and one in a thousand is a better man, but you will have the sap and wit and prudence-for you get that from Odysseus-to give you a fair chance of living though. So do not mind the suitors and their ways, there is no judgment in them, neither do they know anything of death and the black terror close upon them-doom's day on them all." ...
- Lord Odysseus ask her, "Little one could you take me to the house of that Alkinoos, king among these people? You see I am a poor old stranger here; my home is far away; here there is no one known to me, in country side or city." ...
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