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Who is Hermes in the Odyssey?

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Homer’s Odyssey presents several divine characters. Among them are Poseidon, Athena, and Hermes. Similar to his mythological role, Hermes serves as a messenger. In the myths, he is portrayed as a protector of travelers, thieves, merchants, and heralds. In the official representations, he has winged shoes and can fly because of them.

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When the beautiful nymph Calypso imprisons Odysseus with his only son, Athena pleads to Zeus. The God of Thunder sends Hermes. Hence, the nymph honors her word and releases both prisoners. After the messenger of Olympus retold Zeus’s order, Calypso released both prisoners. Yet, she remained unhappy. As Calypso told Hermes, ”male gods are allowed to have mortals as lovers, but females are not, which is unfair”. Regardless of her discontent, she still has sent Odysseus and his son on their way.

Hermes appears later in The Odyssey as a disguised helper. The Messenger of the Gods appeared when Odysseus escaped the island of giants. Later, he, by accident, landed on the island of Circe. This woman seemed to be harmless. Then, she turned several of Odysseus’s comrades into pigs with human faces. Because of his character, Odysseus decided to save his friends from being eaten like pigs.

As he went through the forest to the home of that vengeful and evil goddess, Hermes appeared. He was disguised as a young man. Hermes was the one who warned Odysseus about the witchcraft that Circe used. Moreover, he was the one to show the main character an antidote to Circe’s spell. The Messenger gave Odysseus the drug, called molly. It helped in freeing his companions. Because of Hermes, Odysseus was able to free himself and save his friends from an awful fate.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Who is Hermes in the Odyssey?" December 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/q/who-is-hermes-in-the-odyssey/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Who is Hermes in the Odyssey'. 1 December.

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