The Odyssey Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Explain the circumstances that lead Athene to intervene on Odysseus' behalf at the very beginning of the poem.

It is ordained by the immortals that Odysseus will return home, though he will come on a stranger's ship and his return will be late. Athena realizes that he has been languishing on Calypso's island for seven years, and it is time for him to go home. It also happens that Poseidon, who is holding a grudge against Odysseus, is not on Olympus, so Athena would not have to directly challenge him.

2. Why does Telemachus take advice from Mentes, a relative stranger to him, in Book 1?

Mentes, who is Athena in disguise, only speaks of what is pressing in Telemachus' heart. He knows that something needs to be done, but without a strong male presence, he has not had much guidance. Mentes speaks to him as a father speaks to his son, and Telemachus is susceptible.

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