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Analysis of God & Job and Athena & Odysseus

Autor:   •  March 6, 2018  •  1,933 Words (8 Pages)  •  127 Views

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To compare, just as God favors Job, Athena favors Odysseus. At the beginning of The Odyssey when the story addresses that Odysseus is stranded on an island with Calypso, Athena begs Zeus to let her take care of Odysseus and lead him back to Ithaca. Zeus grants her wish and from then on, she is constantly at the side of Odysseus and even his wife Penelope, and son Telemachus. Athena shows her care and devotion to Odysseus not only by protecting him, but also by taking care of his family. When Zeus allows her to help Odysseus, she immediately demonstrates her dedication by going to Telemachus disguised as a family friend in book I, and becoming his mentor. She also demonstrates protection when she keeps suitors away from Penelope by telling Telemachus “After you’ve done all that, think up some way to kill the suitors in your house either openly or by setting a trap. You’ve got to stop acting like a child” (Homer 311-14). Athena also helps Odysseus out of many tough situations, such as the shipwreck in book V and the mismatched battle in book XXII. Lillian Doherty wrote a piece on Athena and Penelope being the two characters that bring out the best in Odysseus, saying, “Athena, despite the gender and the divine status that set her apart from Odysseus, may actually be considered the most obvious foil for the hero of The Odyssey” (Doherty). The reason that Athena takes a liking to Odysseus is because she felt a connection to him in their similarities in nature. Both being strong-willed, brave, courageous, and wise, she feels it is necessary to be his protector. Just as God keeps Job safe from the attacks of the enemy, so Athena keeps Odysseus safe from the attacks on him.

Although there are many similarities between these two relationships, they are not completely identical. There are many differences as well; one of those differences being the interaction between gods and mortals. In Greek Mythology, gods interact with mortals through a mediator such as a dream or disguising oneself, which is the way Athena communicates with Odysseus. In contrast, God and Job have a direct relationship. Another difference is that Athena favors Odysseus for his wisdom and cunning personality; she loves him because he reminds Athena of herself, even down to Odysseus’ bad traits that resemble that of Athena’s. At one point she even calls them both contrivers. On the other hand, God’s love is unconditional towards Job, and He even boasts about the righteousness of Job. Job’s obedience and righteousness comes from his faith in God, he accepts anything from God whether it is good or bad. Another difference is that there are different theories as to what type of relationship Athena and Odysseus have. The most widespread assumption is that Athena is in love with Odysseus and is jealous when he is stuck on the island with Calypso. The relationship between God and Job has no question as to what type of connection they have. God is a fatherly provider to Job, just as He is to all of His followers.

In conclusion, The Odyssey and Job each tell a remarkable story that one might not normally compare. While the Bible is based on truth, Greek Mythology all stems from a fictional world. The overall concepts of each genre have no correlation, but when analyzed in more depth, it is unquestionable that stories such as Job and The Odyssey have interesting parallels.

Works Cited

Doherty, Lillian E. “Athena and Penelope as Foils for Odysseus in the "odyssey."” Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica 39.3 (1991): 31–44. JSTOR. Dallas Baptist University Lib., Web. 2 Nov. 2015.

Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Stanley Lombardo. The Norton Anthology World Literature. 3rd ed. Vol. A. New York: W.W. Norton, 2013. Print.

Holy Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. N. pag. Print.

Pope, M. W. M. "Athena's Development in Homeric Epic." The American Journal of Philology 81.2 (1960): 113-35. JSTOR. Dallas Baptist University Lib., Web. 28 Nov. 2015.

Strahan, James. The Book of Job. Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism. Ed. Jelena O. Krstovic. Vol. 14. Gale, 1995. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1913. Print. From Literature Resource Center. Dallas Baptist Univerity Lib., Web. 2 Nov. 2015.

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