Is it Odysseus’s personal qualities (cleverness, intelligence, leadership skills, etc) or is it divine interventions (help from the gods) that made him successful on his journey?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'd say it's a combination of the two. Certainly, Odysseus was smart enough to tell Polyphemus that his name is "Nobody" so that the Cyclops cannot identify his attacker to his peers. He knows that he and his men cannot kill the monster or else they'll be trapped in his cave to die, and he's cunning and clever enough to come up with a plan to injure Polyphemus and make it difficult for him to catch them while not reducing his strength and ability to move the boulder from in front of the door. Odysseus is also smart enough to only send a few men to investigate the Land of the Lotus Eaters. In this way, only those few eat the lotus, and he must only muscle them back to the ship. Had he sent his entire crew to investigate, it would have been a much greater feat to get them all back.

On the other hand, without Zeus's intervention, Calypso would likely never have let Odysseus leave her island. Later, Athena helps Odysseus to best the suitors in his home in Ithaca. Ultimately, then, Odysseus wouldn't have made it home without the help of the gods, but he also wouldn't have made it home without his own good qualities.