How would I approach writing an essay on how much Odysseus can be said to be in control over his own fate given the degree to which his life is influenced by the gods.
This question is about the Odyssey
The relationship to free will and necessity is problematic in all religious traditions. In the ancient Greek tradition, even the gods are subject to fate or necessity to a degree.
When examining Odysseus, you need to look at the degree to which the gods predetermine his life as a condition like gravity or geography that is something to which he responds. In other words, although Odysseus may be destined to return home, the manner of his so doing is his choice.
Another issue is point of view. Odysseus makes choices. The gods may have foreknowledge of which choices Odysseus can make, but he himself does not have such knowledge and thus from his own point of view is an independent agent.
Since Odysseus is favoured by Athena, and is characterised by his cleverness, to what degree is he responsible for making good judgements?
Also, when Athena is disguised as Mentor, does Telemachus have the choice of taking or rejecting her advice?