The Odyssey by Homer

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Zeus In The Odyssey

What significance does Zeus have in The Odyssey by Homer?

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Domenick Franecki eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Although Zeus, the head Greek god, does not often appear in The Odyssey, he plays a major role in the epic. At the beginning of The Odyssey , the goddess Athena appeals to Zeus to help Odysseus, a Trojan War hero who has been stranded away from his home in Ithaca for several years. Athena wants to rescue the clever Odysseus, and she begs Zeus to help him. Zeus knows that Poseidon, the god of the sea, is angry at Odysseus because Odysseus blinded his son, Polyphemus the Cyclops. Zeus allows Athena to intervene, and Zeus promises to help Odysseus get home. Zeus says that if all the gods are on...

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allie344 | Student

In book 9, Odysseus's boat is swept about the sea for nine days by the command of Zeus before it finally comes to rest in the land of the Lotus eaters. On this land, Odysseus men eat the fruit of the lotus plant, turning them into mindless lotus eaters. They lose their will to continue on the journey and wish only to stay on the island,eating the fruit for all of eternity. To try to break the trance, Odysseus and his men force them onto the ship and leave the island with all due haste.

Much later in book 12, Odysseus and his men slaughter and eat the cattle of the sun. The Sun is enraged and prays to Zeus to punish them. Zeus then makes another storm which wrecks the boat and causes the death of all those on board excepting Odysseus, who washes up on the island of Calypso.

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