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Explain the roles of the gods in The Odyssey.

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The gods in The Odyssey control the fate of Odysseus and other mortals. The goddess Athena (the goddess of wisdom) is on Odysseus's side, and she petitions Zeus to allow Odysseus to come home after he has traveled for many years trying to get back to Ithaca after the Trojan War. Athena constantly helps Odysseus, his son Telemachus, and his wife Penelope. For example, at the beginning of the epic, she shows up in the guise of Mentor to help Telemachus feel more confident and find a ship to go abroad in search of his father. She later intervenes with Calypso, the nymph holding Zeus hostage, to tell her to allow Odysseus to go home. In several instances, Athena disguises herself to help Odysseus.

One god, Poseidon (the god of the sea), is opposed to Odysseus because Odysseus blinded his son, the Cyclops. Poseidon tries to prevent Odysseus from reaching home for this reason. At times, the gods squabble and fight among each other, much like mortals, except they have more power than mortals.

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