The roles of women play an essential and critical part of the epic poem, The Odyssey. There are two main roles that the female figures play, one being the good woman and the other being the seductress. Although women were considered subordinate to the men, the role of the good woman offers aid and pity to the male figures, such as Odysseus, that need it throughout the story. The character of a seductress is exhibited by most of the female figures. By taking on traits/qualities of a seductress, the women of The Odyssey were able to control the male figures on the poem, enabling them to use this manipulation and power to their advantage. Although these roles may be opposites, each role adds a different dimension making it an essential theme of the story. Therefore, the relationship between the hero and the women forms the majority of the story.
The relationship between Athena and Odysseus is the perfect example of the relationship between the woman and the hero in this poem. Athena, goddess of wisdom and battle, and daughter of Zeus, is seen assisting both Odysseus and Telemachus in many difficult situations simply because of the talents and physical attributes such as being confident, practical, clever, and a great warrior, characteristics that are similar to hers. Although the poem fails to mention much of Athena as the goddess, she does represent them at the council of the gods on Mount Olympus. Athena flaunts her warlike qualities creating battle in which her "side" was undoubtedly the victor (Book 22). Through the mist of confusion and blood, Athena makes sure to keep Odysseus and Telemachus safe. The goddess even "held the night" so that Odysseus and Penelope could have longer to get reacquainted. Homer comments that "she held Dawn's horses".
One woman that is clearly overlooked in this poem is Eurycleia, simply because she bares the title of being a servant for Odysseus and Penelope's family.