What was the response of the sun-god, what threat did he make to Zeus?

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Book XII of The Odyssey, Helios (or Hyperion), the sun-god, says this to Zeus (or Jove):

'Father Jove, and all you other gods who live in everlasting bliss, I must have vengeance on the crew of Ulysses' ship: they have had the insolence to kill my cows, which were the one thing I loved to look upon, whether I was going up heaven or down again. If they do not square accounts with me about my cows, I will go down to Hades and shine there among the dead.'

Zeus (Jove) responds:

"'Sun,' said Jove, 'go on shining upon us gods and upon mankind over the fruitful earth. I will shiver their ship into little pieces with a bolt of white lightning as soon as they get out to sea.'

So says Enotes:

Helius’ daughters, who herded the god’s flocks, informed their father of the outrage done to his creatures. Helius, in turn, demanded that Zeus punish the perpetrators; if the men were not punished, Helius would turn his rays away from the world and into Hades’ realm. Zeus, fearing his threat, agreed to chastise the wrongdoers.

And so, Zeus sent several thunderbolts which destroyed the ship and tossed Odysseus and crew into the sea.

So, the sun-god demands vengeance, a major theme of the epic.  Polyphemus also summons another god, Poseidon--his father--to take revenge on Odyssues for blind him.  The second part of The Odyssey will deal with Odysseus' revenge against the suitors.