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The Odyssey

by Homer

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Why does Athena end The Odyssey with unanswered questions?

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I have looked at three different versions of Homer's The Odyssey, Book 24, and have found questions by Athena (Athene) to her father Zeus, but they are not unanswered, at the end of the book. Fitzgerald's translation is not available on line that I can find, but the three translations I have read tell the same tale.

Athena's questions are, based on, are as follows:

Now Athene spake to Zeus, the son of Cronos, saying: 'O Father, our father Cronides, throned in the highest, answer and tell me what is now the hidden counsel of thy heart? Wilt thou yet further rouse up evil war and the terrible din of battle, or art thou minded to set them at one again in friendship?'

In essence, perhaps Athena is looking for her father's guidance, approval, or both. He is, after all, father to all of the gods, and to mankind itself (according to Greek mythology). Perhaps she also realizes that at this point of Odysseus' very long journey home from the Trojan War, that Zeus' help might be necessary to guarantee that Odysseus' trials finally come to an end.

Zeus responds to his daughter, reminding her that she has been leading the affairs of Odysseus, guiding him and interceding for him for all these years. Zeus does offer advice that the "better" way to end the fighting that is threatened by the family members of the unwelcome suitors Odysseus killed is try to make get both sides to form a covenant (promise) to bring harmony between them so that Odysseus may reign in peace for the remainder of his days.

Athena does assist Odysseus in reaching this goal, while also minimizing further bloodshed.

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