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Word Count: 1,237
The role of disguise in The Odyssey serves a practical role for both Athene and Odysseus who take on a disguise more than once It tends to be the preferred way to encounter people and gather information This practice should not be dismissed as mere function of practicality Its reoccurrence throughout the epic be an indication that Homer was trying to communicate a particular significance and insight into peoples true nature based on their reactions to another guise The mastery of such a skill as disguise is an accomplishment that demonstrates the self discipline that only Athene the goddess of wisdom and strategy would value Odysseus favored by Athene in return for his devotion to her would also understand this value Never does Homer negatively connotate the practice of disguise in which it would be understood as false pretense Homer in his capacity of the great classic authority of epics presents his protagonists synonymously with heroes Both protagonists Odysseus and Athene unashamedly practice disguise and therefore fits Homers notion heroism a positive quality Athene who epitomizes perception and knowledge as evident in her patronage of Athens the most Greek of all city-states takes on disguises at every encounter with mortals Homer does not withhold presenting her utilization of this device from the audience In Book I she introduces herself to Telemachus as Mentes a chieftain of whom she has also taken the appearance of The purpose for her visit is to dispense information regarding the status of Odysseus life Too perform this task in her own identity would be superfluous It simply would not be necessary and perhaps merit unwanted reactions by Telemachus or the suitors who are aware of the meeting and already ask enough questions under the premise of the guest as Mentes lines 450-463 This bears witness to the tactfulness Athena possesses and allows her greater freedom to operate behind this guise which she can control and tailor the circumstances at
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