Cycladic, Minoan, Mycenaean, and Archaic Greek Mythology

The Odyssey

How can someone be called a hero if the gods control what he does?

In the Iliad and the Odyssey it seems that everything the heroes do is controlled by the gods. A god helps one hero to escape death or makes sure another one dies during the battles in front of Troy. Odysseus is saved by Athene, who seems to be constantly at his side. In the Greek view of things, it was the presence of the gods in the hero’s life that indicated his heroic status. The gods are concerned with heroes in more specific ways than they are with lesser humans. The presence of the gods does not make Odysseus any less heroic. In our age a person might say, “the devil made me do it” and still be punished for his actions, or “it was God’s will” and still be honored for his successes.


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