The Greeks used drama and mythology to describe almost all that happened in their cultures. Homer built on these dimensions by developing epic stories that reflect the glory days synonymous with the Greeks’ past lives. For example, the gods and goddess characters are given human traits to get them closer to humans but also retaining the gods or goddesses’ personalities. However, depictions of the goddesses are frequently more difficult to read than those of the gods since Greek mythologists did not place as much emphasis on women as they did on men. Both Homer’s Odyssey and Aeschylus Eumenides uses the same character, Athena, to represent a Greek goddess. This paper analyses the role of Athena in the two books to assess its role in both and the goddess involvement in the two stories.
In both stories, Aeschylus’ Eumenides and Homer’s Odyssey, the character, Athena, was used to represent the Greek goddess of wisdom, skill, justice and civilization. She is portrayed as the daughter of Zeus. Consequently, she is assigned the role of a mediator and an advocate for justice while at the same time, also feels endowed with the responsibility to protect the entire city and its people. In cases of problems, the occurrence of injustice and bad blood between the king and the people of the city, Athena is seen as the voice of reason, justice, and accountability.
With her noble character, she is not seen to prefer vengeance but rather purports to employ the voice of diplomacy and thoughtfulness at any time that the people are involved in any squabbles (Watson 102). Of key concern in the conclusion of Homer was Odyssey’s role as the protector and the role model/ mentor of the people and the society in which they live. These roles are demonstrated throughout Aeschylus’ Eumenides. In Aeschylus’ Eumenides for instance, Athena is depicted to have descended from Minoan shield goddess who had the powers of protective divinity (Sommerstein 58). She also demonstrates descent from the tree goddess and the snake goddess, both of whom are the earthly symbols of eternal renewal; the characters which shaped Athena’s characters greatly and defined her position in the society.
Athena’s characters and personal beliefs seem to differ significantly from those of her mother and predecessors. While in battles, Athena’s presence delivers victory to the Ares. Rather, she does this with calmness and humility. Her duty is to invigorate power and wisdom as opposed to the mere brutal muscular strength. The character Athena maintains these traits through to the end of the stories in the two books. For instance, Athena introduced artworks such a weaving and pottery as a means to tame the people and teach them not to depend entirely on the government entirely. These crafts, adopted by the people and practiced, successfully brought wealth, health, and wealth to the families in Athens
To conclude, the Greek mythologies and drama were used in a very effective manner to illustrate the various aspects of the Greek culture and lives. Homer and Aeschylus, in their stories Odyssey and Eumenides, utilized these techniques to describe various aspects of the Greek lives and beliefs successfully. The character Athena, used in the two stories, has been portrayed as the goddess of civilization, justice, and protection. Athena helps the people when faced with various challenges including wars, injustices, etc. Athena maintains this character through to the end of the two stories. In the end, she achieves great success in using her powers to save the community from every manner of strife.
Sommerstein, Alan H (ed). Aeschylus: Eumenides. Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Watson, John Selby, ed. The Odyssey of Homer. G. Bell, 1876.