a. Athena & Odysseus – A Multifaceted Relationship
b. Immortal versus Mortal; Protector versus Protected
a. Athena as Virgin; Odysseus as Man
b. Athena as Wise Protector; Odysseus as Wise Protected
c. Athena as Goddess; Odysseus as Mortal
d. Athena as Spiritual Cleanser; Odysseus as Being Worthy of the Gods’
e. Mutual Identification as the Love Bond Between Athena and Odysseus
f. Athena’s and Odysseus’ as Symbolic of What Man and Gods Should Not
a. The Multifaceted Nature of Athena’s and Odysseus’ Relationship
b. Athena and Odysseus and the Heroic Ideal
The relationship between the goddess Athena and the mortal Odysseus in Homer’s Greek Classic, The Odyssey, encompasses aspects of many different relationships rather than one single type, such as protector and protected or mother-figure and son-figure. One the most significant level, the relationship is between that of immortal (Athena) and mortal (Odysseus), which is primary in import because of the fact that we are continually reminded by Homer that Odysseus is as close to an immortal, or god, as a mortal gets. Odysseus is constantly referred to as the strongest, most cunning, wisest and most beautiful man, i.e., as close to being a god as a mere mortal can get. Athena, therefore, shares a protector-protected relationship with him because he is one mortal who is so close to being a god in qualities that she, as an immortal, cannot help but feel is worthy of her assistance. Therefore, as Homer tells us, Athena “made him loftier than and stouter to behold,/So that he might become cherished by all the Phaeacians,/And fearful, and respected, and might carry out many/Of the contests in which the Phaeacians tested Odysseus” (Homer VIII: 20-23).
While the primary and most obvious relationship between Odysseus and Athena is one of protector and protected, there are other types of relationships which connect the two of them throughout ...