In The Odyssey, what does Athena convince Zeus to do in order to free Odysseus? What is Zeus's role?

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Odysseus has been stuck on the island of Ogygia with the beautiful sea nymph Calypso for the past seven years. Staring blankly out to sea as he sits on the beach, Odysseus is desperately homesick. There's nothing he'd like to more than to take his leave of the luscious Ogygian...

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Odysseus has been stuck on the island of Ogygia with the beautiful sea nymph Calypso for the past seven years. Staring blankly out to sea as he sits on the beach, Odysseus is desperately homesick. There's nothing he'd like to more than to take his leave of the luscious Ogygian nymph and set sail for home on the island of Ithaca.

On Mount Olympus the goddess Athena is deeply sympathetic to our hero's plight. She thinks it's high time that Odysseus was freed from his—admittedly luxurious—captivity, and allowed to go on his way, but first she needs to persuade the other immortals that this is indeed the right thing to do. So she goes before Zeus and the Olympian court to plead Odysseus's case. Thankfully for Athena and Odysseus, the sea-god Poseidon isn't there; he's gone to visit the Ethiopians, which is just as well because Poseidon hates Odysseus, not least because of his being on the opposing side during the Trojan War.

In her plea to Zeus and the Olympian council, Athena mainly uses pathos, or an appeal to the emotions. She reminds Zeus that Odysseus has been making regular burnt offerings to him during his time on Ogygia. "Are you not moved by this?" says Athena to the father of the gods. She also reminds the mighty Zeus that Odysseus was his favorite during the Trojan War when he once again demonstrated his piety by offering sacrifices.

Zeus relents, and now Athena can put her plan into action. Odysseus will be freed from his Ogygian captivity, and his son Telemachus—with Athena's assistance—will set sail from Ithaca in search of his father, in the hope of reuniting with the man he's never had a chance to know.

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There was a meeting of the gods on Mount Olympus and Athena was arguing that they should help Odysseus. Through her arguments, she convinced Zeus to send his son Hermes to Ogygia to save Odysseus from Calypso. Calypso knew that it was a bad idea to go against Zeus, so she agreed to follow the directions of Hermes. She released Odysseus and gave him supplies and a raft, but she did not sent him with an escort.

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