Such is the structure of the poem, which is organized in its main outlines from Olympus. It is Pallas, the deity of wisdom, who has ordered it in this way; her we shall follow, in preference to the critics, and unfold the interpretation on the same organic lines. Every reader will feel that the three great joints of the poetical body are truly foreshadowed by the Goddess, who indeed is the constructive principle of the poem. One likes to see this belief of the old singer that his work was of divine origin, was actually planned upon Olympus by Pallas in accordance with the decree of Zeus. So at least the Muses have told him, and they were present. But the grandest utterance here is that of Zeus, the Greek Providence, proclaiming man's free will.
Very old and still very new is the problem of the Odyssey; with a little care we can see that the Homeric Greek had to solve in his way what every one of us still has to solve, namely, the problem of life. Only yesterday one might have heard the popular preacher of a great city, a kind of successor to Homer, blazoning the following text as his theme: God is not to blame. Thus the great poem has an eternal subject, though its outer garb be much changed by time. The soul of Homer is ethical, and that is what makes him immortal. Not till we realize this fact, can we be said in any true sense, to understand him.