In the face of adversity, what causes some individuals to prevail while others fail?
Throughout The Odyssey, there are many instances of divine intervention (Athena aiding Telemakhos and Odysseus at various instances). I believe that Odysseus' and Telemakhos' reliance on the help of the gods is the thing that brought both of them through their respective struggles. Without Athena, Telemakhos would likely still be unaware of the extreme discourtesy that the suitors were paying his family. Odysseus was pulled through many a tough situation (Kirke's island by Hermes, etc.) by the gods.