Divine intervention can be defined as the point when a god or goddess decides to interfere either directly or indirectly with a character from a novel. This definition is correct for the Alchemist by where the main character is directly visited by a god, as well as having omens sent to him. Also, this Divine intervention occurs in The Odyssey by , when Odysseus’ fate is put into the hands of the gods.

Divine Intervention plays a very important role in both the Alchemist and the Odyssey, as it affects not only plot but characters as well. It appears in many forms, such as direct visitations and omens, each just as vital as the other.

Throughout the Odyssey the heroic Odysseus’ journey home is put under the influence of the gods. Some of the gods despise him and wish him despair, while others adore him and want him to succeed in his quest. At the beginning, placed the role of the gods to determine the fate of Odysseus. The first god to intrude in Odysseus’s life is . He intervenes after Odysseus and company visits the Cyclops, Polyphemus, 's son, and blinds him. At the end of this part in the story, Odysseus tells Polyphemus his name, and Polyphemus gets to take revenge. does this by creating a tremendous storm, when Odysseus leaves the , being released from Calypso, almost killing him; Odysseus finally landing at Scherie, where the Phaeacians live. doing this intervenes with Odysseus' long journey home, prolonging it even more.

The next god to play an extremely important role in the life of Odysseus is , the goddess of wisdom. “With this left him/ as a bird rustles upward, off and gone. / But as she went she put new spirit in him, / a new dream of his father…” Without the involvement of , Telemakhos would never have gain the courage to journey out into the world to find the fate of his father. Throughout the epic, appears on earth disguised as everything from a little girl to Odysseus’s old friend to spin Odysseus’s long journey home. When Odysseus was following Nausikaa to the city, “the grey-eyed goddess came to him, in figure/ a small girl child” to guide him to Alkinoos’ palace.

As well as direct visitation, omens play a major part of the tale of The Odyssey. Every character believes in gods and takes omens very seriously and believed they were messages from the gods and were also prophesies. “Go home, old man, and prophesy
to your own children, or it may be worse for them. I can read these omens myself much better than you can”  
Prophecies are seen in the forms of omens, signs, strict prediction of the future, divine condemnation, and divine instruction. Omens are brief prophecies intimately connected to the action at hand, which must be interpreted in terms of that action. Halitherses comments on the eagle attack after Telemakhos condemns the suitors; he correctly interests it to mean that if the suitors keep feeding off Odysseus’s possessions they will be destroyed. Yet the suitors ignore the omen, inviting their eventual destruction. This haughty treatment of a divine omen is a justification for their deaths. When  says if Odysseus had returned he would, with his son, surely slay the suitors, Telemakhos let loose a great sneeze. This omen reinforces the previous one, and simultaneously prepares the reader for the carnage to follow. However, not all omens are effective. In the case of Telemakhos we see many bird omens signaling for him to do something about the suitors. Whether it was his immaturity to interpret the bird omens or blind arrogance Telemakhos does not act on them. In fact, it’s not until  comes to him that he thinks to take action against the suitors in his house. Signs are similar to omens, but differ in one crucial aspect; the prophesier is looking for a specific omen in order to decide whether he should or should not take some action. There is one good example of a sign in the Odyssey, Odysseus asks  for two divine signs to decide if it is time to slay the suitors.  answers with a thunderclap from a cloudless sky and allows Odysseus to overhear a maid’s prayer for vengeance. Because of these signs, Odysseus begins his plan to slay the suitors. Later on, with a thunderclap  actually signals for the precise time to strike. Signs are helpful devices; they allow not only a rationalization for when an event occurs but also shows the approval of the gods on such an action. Not only are signs and omens plentiful in the Odyssey, but also the type one usually associates with prophesying, strict prediction of the future, abounds as well.  states that she will marry the man who can string Odysseus’s bow and perform his famous feat. Since Odysseus is the only one to do so, the prophecy is fulfilled. 


Visitation from the gods plays a major role in the hero’s journey in the Alchemist, as it does in the Odyssey. The primary character, is visited by who is a god. Melchezidek is the King of Salem and it is his duty to assist people in finding happiness. It is he who persuades to go on his journey and fulfill his Personal Legend. Melchezidek is a great vital character in The Alchemist, for without him, might not have gone on his journey to . He is the character who tells about personal legends and during the days they are together, he informs him of many stories about people who have not followed their Personal Legends and therefore, are not truly happy as they settled for second best. He also teaches about taking heed to omens he sees. For example, he says “Learn to recognize omens, and follow them” and this causes understand the symbolism of the butterfly in part one of the novel. This also leads to follow omens more carefully throughout the rest of his quest because he now knew that they were sings form the gods. “Being a great believer of omens he also understood that some things in life are not destined to happen and can be changed with signs from omens”

Divine intervention is an important part of each novel, The Alchemist and The Odyssey. It is shown in many ways such as direct visitation, omens and prophecies. There is also a similarity in the two works of literature, being that each hero has a personal god. The personal god is the only god who shows themselves to the mortal hero and assists them in their journey. Therefore Divine intervention is a key component of each novel.
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