odyssey - Ellyn Velasco Dr. Froehlich Humanities 110...

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Ellyn Velasco Dr. Froehlich Humanities 110 September 21, 2006 The Odyssey “The year came In which the gods spun the thread For Odysseus to return home to Ithaca.” (1.20-2) This introductory line illustrates the power that the gods hold over the fate of mortals. The deities determine every decision that humans make before the humans make it themselves. Do humans still have free choice? Decisions face every human’s life every single day. He decides what career he will have, who he will marry, and even what he will eat that day. Free will and fate work together in Greek theology. The gods give humans the opportunity for free will, but they already know what humans will choose. “Zeus planned in his heart a bitter journey home/ For the Greeks—who were not all prudent or just.” (3.143-4) In this passage, Nestor tells Telemachus of his journey home from Troy. Nestor evidently knew that Zeus did not want the Greeks to have a pleasant journey home. This demonstrates the control that the gods have over the destiny of mortals. If Zeus did not want the Greeks to have a safe journey home, then surely it would happen. However, there is also evidence that the Greeks almost chose their own doom in this situation. “The Greeks— who were not all prudent or just.” The Greeks obviously chose not to act
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respectably towards the gods. Even though Zeus decided that the Greeks would not return home unharmed, the Greeks chose their own fate in not recognizing the power of the gods. “Zeus turned then to his son Hermes and said: ‘Hermes, you’ve been our messenger before. Go tell that ringleted nymph it is my will To let that patient man Odysseus go home.” (5.30-3) Again, the reader sees the will of the gods—particularly Zeus—in action. In this segment, Zeus instructs Hermes to tell Calypso to let Odysseus finally go home. Although Zeus ultimately decides this, later on, Calypso gives Odysseus two
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odyssey - Ellyn Velasco Dr. Froehlich Humanities 110...

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