The Odyssey: prologue (audio)
The gods discuss whether or not to conclude Odysseus' punishment and allow him to return home. Zeus argues that Poseidon should be permitted to continue his vengeful punishment of Odysseus whilst Athena argues that he is only mortal and should be permitted his freedom. Zeus castigates mortals in general for their stupidity and failure to acknowledge signs from the gods. Athena counter-argues by describing Odysseus as an exception to this rule. Hermes tries to argue that Odysseus butchered the sacred cattle of the sun god Apollo, but Athena refutes him by claiming that Hermes committed a similar crime himself. She states that the gods should realise that if they fail to help humans they will be forgotten. Zeus concludes that Odysseus should be allowed to find his way back to Ithaca.