The Odyssey and the Aeneid Poems

Introduction

Athena was a great Olympian goddess of wise counsel, heroic endeavors, war, pottery, weaving and other crafts. She was born from the head of Zeus, her mother was the first wife of Zeus. She is a character in the poem, the Odyssey.

Juno was an ancient Roman goddess, the protector and special counselor of the state. She is a daughter of Saturn and a sister to the chief god Jupiter and the mother of Mars and Vulcan. She looked after the women of Rome. She is a character in the poem, the Aeneid.

Thesis statement

Athena plays a role of a caring individual who strived to protect the innocent is the Odyssey. On the other hand Juno plays in a juvenile role and would do anything to achieve what she wants even if it means unleashing her wrath on others.

Comparison between the Athena and Juno play in the Odyssey and the Aeneid respectively

Both the two characters are caring. The roles of the goddesses as been caring in the in the Odyssey and Aeneid is very significant, i.e. Athena is significantly following Odysseus, checking up on him and trying to help him. She pleads on his behalf at the council of gods and she watched over the battle with the suitors in the hall. Juno on the other hand suggests that Dido and Aeneas marry so that there would be peace between Trojans and Tyrians although Juno knows that she just trying to keep the Trojans and Tyrians from going to Italy.

All the goddesses look determined and more serious in the Odyssey and the Aeneid and are performing serious purposes. Apart from Poseidon, Athena is willing to get Odysseus back home to appease the fates because Odysseus has offended the gods. His men had eaten the cattle’s of the son god and Poseidon and this was because Odysseus has blinded his son and had not made any acknowledgement to her. This makes the goddess Athena constantly acting seriously. In the Aeneid, the goddess Juno seems to be very determined and serious because she works more towards her goal of destroying Aeneas than helping fate. Juno tries to slow Aeneas down for her own benefit. She is a wildly ferocious being.

Contrasts in the roles that Athena and Juno play in the Odyssey and the Aeneid respectively

Juno in the Aeneid has always despised Trojans since the golden apple incidence and the anger is taken out of Aeneas. She is the first god to intervene as she persuades the wing god to conjure up a storm to destroy Aeneas fleet when he is in Italy (ref 1.5-2). Neptune the sea god is able to calm the storm and Aeneas is left with seven ships and this makes him take refuge in an African port. Juno plays a significant role in the Aeneid although sometimes she is thought to be a quite juvenile. She learns that her favourite city Carthage will be destroyed once Rome is formed. It is inevitable that Aeneas will reach Italy but she insists on making it difficult for him. She is a vengeful and spiteful individual.

Athena on the other hand in the Odyssey is better individual than Juno. She is the patron of the city of Athens. She is commonly linked with war for peace hence more caring than Juno and does not look at only her interests. Mortals recognized Athena’s active role as an influence and intercessor with others. This made her so popular with the Greek people. She has an incredible relationship with Odysseus and other characters as well. Athena demonstrates throughout Odyssey that she is a goddess of action just like Odysseus is a man of action. She also demonstrates her role as an active leader in her protection of Telemakhos and shows the same leadership and action in the Illiad and Trojans too recognizes her powers and leaderships. However, because she does not like Trojans, she does not listen to their prayers.

Roles the goddesses serve in moving the plot forward

From the beginning of Odyssey, Athena has always been helping Odysseus. She first did so when Odysseus was trapped on Calipso’s island. She persuaded her father to help him out and Zeus sends Hermes to calypso on his behalf to tell him to release Odysseus so that he can go back home. She also did several minor things for Odysseus like improving his appearance so that he is respected by other characters and also when she led Odysseus to the palace of the Phaecian in the guise of a little girl. She also helped Odysseus in deflecting the suitor’s weapon and also disguised him as an old beggarly man. This proved an advantage to Odysseus because he is able to spy on his wife’s suitors and evaluate the characters of each man he comes across. Her caring nature serves in moving the plot forward.

In regards to the goddess Juno, Aeneas faces many hardships and obstacles through her as he takes his epic journey to meet his goal of finding his homeland in Italy but in the end he manages leading Trojans home as a hero. In the beginning, the god’s seem to be in conflict to help him travel. Juno the queen of the god’s loves Carthage and does not want Aeneas to conquer Rome and also she is angry that a Trojan paris did not see her as the most beautiful woman in the world. Due to this, Juno throws obstacles at Aeneas to deter him but Aeneas mother uses Jupiter to help her son on the long journey and because of the help of Venus and Jupiter; he is received with favors by Dido the queen of Carthage. (Swank, 1927: 70)

Both these goddess plays an intensive role in the lives and fates of the mortal dwellers of the earth in both the Odyssey and the Aeneid. There is a strong impression that gods manipulate mortals and each other i.e. in regard to the great goddess Athena, she impacted anyone she came across. Juno is a ruthless goddess of marriage and a guardian of women and will stop anyone to accomplish her desires.

The situations that call for divine interventions

The role of the goddess Athena was an essential part of Odysseus back to Ithaka. There was the situation where goddess Athena also played a vital part in Telemakhoa’s life before the return of his father. Athena appears to be a critical component of development to the father Odysseus and his son Telemakhoa and also guiding Penelope as a beautiful mother waiting for the return of her husband. Athene has an extensive and caring relationship with Odysseus. She pleads with her father Zeus to allow her help Odysseus go back to his family as she said “But my own heart is broken for Odysseus”. This situation called for divine interventions. (Kennedy, 2009: 45)

In the Aeneid, the situation that require divine attention include the situation where Juno persuades Aelous, the god of wind to conjure up a storm that would destroy Aeneas’ fleet. In the Aeneid, Juno has always despised Trojans since the golden apple incidence and the anger is taken out of Aeneas. She is the first god to intervene as she persuades the wing god to conjure up a storm to destroy Aeneas fleet when he is in Italy (ref 1.5-2). However, Neptune the sea god is able to calm the storm and Aeneas is left with seven ships and this makes him take refuge in an African port. (Virgil, 282)

Situations that are left to be handled by the mortals

Some of the situations that determine the destiny of mortals includes Aeneas himself who draws much attention from the gods especially his own mother and the king of gods is Jupiter who is able to overpower any other gods.

Another situation left to be handled by mortals is the issues of marriage whereby humans are left to marry each other through their own will instead of getting married to appease the gods. Like, Juno in the idea of Dido and Aeneas to get married.

The situation of leadership should be left to mortals since it has always been that way the whole of Europe. Gods and goddesses are not supposed to act as leaders of mortal human.