In Greek mythology, Zeus is king of the gods, and in that capacity, it was believed that he ultimately upheld the cosmic and natural order. We see this role (as supreme cosmic arbiter) reflected consistently throughout The Odyssey.
For example, consider the beginning of the poem. When Athena wishes to see Odysseus released from his captivity by Calypso, it is to Zeus she appeals, and it is Zeus who sends Hermes to secure Odysseus's release. Later, when Odysseus begins his recounting of his sufferings to the Phaecians, it is notable that he credits Zeus's primary responsibility in shaping his difficulties, stating:
Let me tell you about the voyage fraught with hardship Zeus inflicted on me, homeward bound from Troy.
That responsibility is reflected throughout the poem itself. For example, when Odysseus's men slaughter the cattle of Helios, it is to Zeus that Helios brings his complaint, and it is Zeus who throws the thunderbolt which destroyed Odysseus's ship—an attack from which Odysseus...
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