A Predominant Theme in The Odyssey
Warnings: The Importance and Consequences in The Odyssey
Throughout The Odyssey, there are many different themes. While they range in importance, one stands above all. From Thrinacia, to Ithaca and even the Scylla, warnings and consequences are the most predominate theme, dictating events and teaching the readers of the epic to listen to and respect their superiors.
Thrinacia was the biggest example of warnings and consequences in The Odyssey. In it, Circe warns, “But if you harm them, I foretell / Disaster for your ship and crew” (Odyssey 12.145-6). This quote shows the blatant warning that Thrinacia’s cattle must go unharmed, and the entirety of the island should be avoided. This warning goes unheeded, as the men do eat the cattle. Upon eating the cattle, Helios addressed the immortal gods, saying “Father Zeus, and you other gods eternal, / Punish Odysseus’ companions, who have insolently / Killed the cattle…” (Odyssey 12.388-90). This excerpt shows the sheer anger of the Gods, specifically Helios, for the failure to listen. The men’s own disobedience led to their downfall. In general, disobedience to commands from a superior leads to consequences and possibly harm. For example, ignoring the instructions of a coach can lead to an athlete being benched. This would stand to show all the athletes that one should listen to the coach, or even broader, all should listen to their superiors. Not only were superiors ignored in Thrinacia, but also in the battle of the suitors’ parents, located in Ithaca.
Prior to the battle of the suitors’ parents, Phemios, Medon, and Halitherses warn the parents not to battle Odysseus and his men, noting that it won’t end well for them. The warning is quite clear, with Medon saying, “You have only yourselves to blame, my friends” (Odyssey 24.472) and, “Now listen to me and keep your peace. Some of you / Are looking for trouble–and you might just find it” (Odyssey 24.279-80). In this quote, Medon essentially warns the men of Thrinacia that Odysseus will kill them all if they skirmish with him, hence the last part of his message. In a greater sense, this warns of the consequences of being overcome with anger, and disobeying warnings. Some men, overcome with anger and grief for the loss of their sons, show complete and utter disregard for the warning, and decide to fight. In this fight, several die, including the father of Antinous, Eupeithes. The carnage only ends at the order of Athena, but, had she not interceded, more would have died for their disregard of the warning. As a result, it’s best to listen to the warnings you’re given, and the rewards for doing so are obvious in the fight with the Scylla.
The battle of the Scylla shows the reward for listening to the warnings given. While on Aeaea, the island of Circe, Odysseus is warned not to arm himself and fight back against the Scylla. When he listens, and doesn’t prepare for battle, the result is that, “Scylla seized six of my men from our ship, / The six strongest hands aboard” (Odyssey 12.252-3). This quote from The Odyssey shows the positives of heeding the warnings, the loss of only 6 men rather than all of them. Typically, listening to warnings will benefit you, as was the case in this epic. For instance, heeding the warnings about cigarettes will prevent smoking related illnesses and deaths, similar to how deaths were prevented by not fighting back. As a result, one will, once again, learn to respect warnings.
Throughout The Odyssey, unfortunate occurrences happen to many characters. This is predominate in Thrinacia and the skirmish with the suitors’ parents, but for the battle with the Scylla, things went as best they could. Almost all of this tragedy could have been easily avoided, had the characters listened to the obvious warnings given to them, both by gods and mortals. Instead of heeding, many allowed animalistic instinct, such as anger or hunger, to overcome their sense, and suffered the consequences for it. Warnings and consequences are the most predominate theme, dictating events and teaching the readers of the epic to listen to and respect their superiors.
The Role of Women in Homer’s The Odyssey
Pablo Picasso once said, “There are only two types of women – goddesses and doormats.” Picasso’s words are completely true in modern society, which often puts women in certain archetypes and forces them to butt heads, as well as applicable Homer’s well-known epic the Odyssey. In this epic tale, women are often separated into two main categories and only serve to further embody the archetype they are put into and contrast the opposing one. While some women do play an important role in Homer’s poem and can be classified as part of more than one archetype, just as they are in society, they are often limited down into two main categories that have certain characteristics. There are matrons, who are chaste and often display the Greek value of arete, such as Penelope, and there are temptresses like Calypso and Clytemnestra that are considered tainted and often enjoy having sexual encounters with men. The first major category of women that Homer portrays in the Odyssey is the motherly figure. There are two main figures that display motherly characteristics are Penelope and Anticlea, the wife and mother respectively of Odysseus. In the Odyssey, both Penelope and Anticlea mourn for the loss of Odysseus. During his trip to Hades, Anticlea says to Odysseus, “Penelope remains in your halls/Her heart enduring the bitter days and night/But the honor that was yours has not passed/To any man…It was longing for you, my glorious Odysseus/For your gentle heart and your gentle ways/That robbed me of my honey-sweet life”.
Mothers are constant figures throughout the Odyssey, being seen as sorrowful, piteous, and dependent on the men in their life. Without instruction and presence from these men, matrons are considered by the epic to be fragile and distraught. The mothers in the Odyssey only serve to mourn the men they have lost and remain loyal to them until their death. This is especially visible in the cases of Penelope and Anticlea. With Penelope, she continues to mourn her husband and cling onto the hope that he is alive, only keeping him in her heart and remaining loyal to him despite the pestering of the suitors. Penelope displays the Greek value of arete, or moral excellence and virtue, with her behavior as a wife and through her loyalty to Odysseus, while Anticlea cannot even live without the presence of her son, dying after years of waiting for him to come home. The main purpose of these women is to depend on, pine away for, and remain loyal to the men in their livesThe other main archetype for women in the Odyssey is the seductress, which is namely embodied by Circe and Calypso. During Odysseus journey to return home, he encounters many women, and it is during his travels that he meets Circe and Calypso. Both of these women attempt to seduce him, particularly the goddess Calypso. Calypso tries to to marry Odysseus and keep him on Ogygia forever. Before he leaves the island, Calypso entreats, “My wily Odysseus/Do you really want to go home…Stay here with me, deathless…Penelope’s not my equal/In beauty…Mortal beauty cannot compare with immortal”.
The Odyssey speaks of women in the seductress archetype such as Calypso and Circe negatively, in contrast to motherly figures. Even the Olympians speak badly of and mistreat these women, as seen when Athena sends the messenger-god Hermes to threaten Calypso with the wrath of Zeus so that she will finally release Odysseus and let him return to Ithaca. Homer portrays these women as obstacles to Odysseus returning home whose allure and beauty is the main reason that Odysseus takes so long to return home. The seductress archetype claims that women are evil temptresses that are only there to distract the hero from his goal, and characters such as Circe and Calypso exist to further this category. For Odysseus, overcoming and denying the impure seductresses he encounters play a major part of exemplifying his role as an epic hero, further proving how seductresses exist merely to embody their archetypes as tainted and evil women. While all women in the Odyssey fall into a certain character archetype, some of the fall into multiple categories rather than just one. The greatest example of this is Penelope, who plays the role of both the matron and the seductress. In the Odyssey, Penelope must keeps the suitors at bay while staying loyal to Odysseus. However, she also leads on the suitors like a seductress would. Penelope tells them that she will marry one of them as soon as she is done with Laertes’s burial shroud and then unwinds it so that she never finishes, and she asks them to give her gifts so that she can marry whoever gives her the best ones as well. Although this is true, Penelope is the only female character in the Odyssey that falls into more than one archetype, with the rest of the female characters falling into only one of the categories. Despite Penelope’s possible classification as both a seductress and a matron, she is best known for being the mother who stays loyal to her husband and is even praised for not exhibiting the traits of a seductress. In Hades, she is known among the dead for being a virtuous wife, with Agamemnon praising Odysseus, “You won a wife of great character/In Icarius’ daughter.
What a mind she has,/A woman beyond reproach! How well Penelope/Kept in her heart her husband, Odysseus/And so her virtue’s fame will never perish/And the gods will make among men on earth/A song of praise for steadfast Penelope”. Penelope portrays and is better known for being a loyal wife and mother rather than a seductress, given praise for being unlike temptresses. In the Odyssey, Penelope is constantly given praise for displaying arete by staying loyal to her husband and not giving into the wants of the suitors. She is directly compared to seductresses like Clytemnestra and Calypso, who are often bad mouthed by the Olympians and by mortals such as Agamemnon, and is considered a woman of great virtue due to the fact that she in exactly unlike these seductresses who are considered vile and impure. Like all women in the Odyssey, Penelope falls into a single character archetype for women. She merely serves to embody her role as a matron and emphasize its traits while directly contrasting the archetype of the seductress.
Women in the Odyssey fall into one of two main archetypes of either mothers or seductresses, and they only serve to further their category or contrast the opposite one. However, women being categorized into certain archetypes and certain women being idealized over others is not just limited to Homeric epics but can be seen in modern society as well. In modern-day society, women are often put into categories like girly-girls, bossy, tomboys, bimbos, promiscuous, and a myriad of other archetypes. On top of that, women are also shamed for being part of a certain archetype like Calypso is, and certain categories of women are pitted against each other just as the matron and seductress archetypes are in the Odyssey. To conclude, women the Odyssey are boxed into certain categories and are often compared to women in opposing categories, just as they are in modern society. As Picasso once said, “There are only two types of women – goddesses and doormats,” and Homer’s Odyssey epitomizes this statement completely.
Guide to The Classics: Homer’s Odyssey
Epic Hero or Epic Homecoming? Arguably one of the most famous poems centered around a homecoming, Homer’s The Odyssey tells the story of literature’s most famous veteran, Odysseus, and his journey home. After ten years of fighting in the Trojan War, Odysseus’s priority was getting back to his wife, yet his trip back home turned into a voyage of endless battles resembling the war Odysseus had just left behind. In many cases, Odysseus’s ego was the cause of this cycle of violence, such as when he angered a Cyclops and ate the cows of Helios. For a man favored by Athena for his cunning and metis, he made some reckless choices, causing many readers to wonder if his true intentions were to be remembered as a hero rather than get back to Ithaca. Although Odysseus’s occasionally rash behavior and arrogant demeanor cause readers to question Odysseus’s priorities, his actions were actually the result of his lasting war mentality, the intervention of the gods, and his role as an epic hero in an epic poem. To begin with, Odysseus displays signs of a war mentality, which gave him a desire to fight every mythical creature on his journey.
For example, Odysseus’s aggression is seen when he confronted the Cyclops Polyphemus and felt his “heart beat high now at the chance of action and drawing at the sharp sword from my hip”. The words “heart beat high” demonstrate Odysseus’s excitement to cause physical harm. His violent state of mind can be explained as the result of when “he plundered the stronghold on the proud height of Troy”. The words “plundered” and “Troy” are an allusion to the Trojan War and the moment Odysseus changed the course of the battle with his Trojan horse strategy. This reveals that Odysseus played a prominent part in the war and in the end still survived. The fact that Odysseus survived when so many have died means that he had to be tough and aggressive. This behavior adapted into Odysseus’s survival instinct, which proves that Odysseus didn’t fight the mythical beasts on his journey for fame, but rather because of his instincts. Caroline Alexander, an author for the New York Times underscores this claim in her 2009 article “Back From War, but Not Really Home”. In this article, she describes the extent of the influence of a war mentality when she writes, “It’s vexing power was underscored… when a military psychiatrist who had been treating the mental scars of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan went on a shooting rampage at an Army base in Texas”. By using the words “shooting rampage”, Alexander draws a connection between the aggression Odysseus displayed to that of a real veteran.
However, while Odysseus was an active fighter during the war, this man was only a psychiatrist which shows how powerful the influence of war can be. Moreover, the irony in the fact that a military psychiatrist suffered mental damage serves to prove that the impact of war is almost inescapable, no matter who you are. Therefore, there is no doubt that Odysseus did not leave the Trojan War mentally unharmed. To conclude, the Trojan War left an impact on Odysseus’s mental state, causing him to want to fight every beast he encountered, and elongated his trip home.In addition, Odysseus’s homecoming was also delayed due to divine intervention. After Odysseus angered the Cyclops, Polyphemus got his revenge when he cursed him, saying “never see his home again… far be that day and dark the years between. Let him lose all companions, and return under strange sail to bitter days at home”. Polyphemus adds in his curse “far be that day”, showing that the journey was always meant to be long, no matter what Odysseus did during his voyage. The phrase “dark the years between” shows that Polyphemus willed Odysseus to have a miserable journey home too. As Odysseus is only mortal, there was nothing he could have done to escape the curse placed on him by a mythical being. It can be concluded that Odysseus didn’t go on adventures to gain fame, he went because they were inevitably placed in his way as a result of the curse. To add on, Odysseus and all of his actions could have been under the control of the gods. Such manipulation from the gods is not unusual in The Odyssey, as seen when Odysseus returned to Ithaca and, ‘the goddess Athena has cast an obscuring mist over all the familiar landmarks, making ‘everything look otherwise/than it was’.
This moment shows that Athena exploited Odysseus’s mind so that he saw things differently than they were. By mentioning the word “familiar”, Homer displays that Athena’s influence is strong enough to make scenes are that recognizable to Odysseus look foreign to him. This shows readers that every action and decision Odysseus made -including those that made his journey last ten years- could have been the result of the control of the gods. In conclusion, opposing divine forces placed physical and mental obstacles in Odysseus’s path, which is why it took him ten years to get home. Finally, as an epic hero, Odysseus was designed to be a masculine character to look up to. In Ancient Greece, masculinity was a common feature in most epic heroes because ancient Greek societies looked up to masculine traits. Even today with the uncertainty of what it means to be masculine in this day and age, 60% of people in a 2017 survey stated that looking up to masculine men is a positive thing. This demonstrates that a majority of people both in the past and present looked up to men who are masculine, so in order for Odysseus to be considered the ideal man, Homer had to make him manly. By putting him on dangerous journeys and making seem like an adventurous person, Homer truly makes Odysseus seem like an epic hero like Achilles and Jason. From a more literal perspective, Homer makes Odysseus go on epic adventures to make the story more interesting. An epic poem can be defined as a poem involving “a long journey, full of complications, such as strange creatures, large-scale events, divine intervention, treacherous weather”. This shows that all of these events happen in The Odyssey are necessary aspects of the poem.
The definition of an epic poem includes a “long journey”, showing that Odysseus’s journey is supposed to take many years, otherwise, it would not be an epic. The other characteristics of an epic poem such as the “strange creatures” like Scylla and Charybdis, and “large scale events” must have been added by Homer to make the poem more interesting and exciting for his audience to listen to. This shows that Odysseus’s journey home was extended for entertainment value and that his desire to get home should not be judged based on how long it took for him to get back to Ithaca. In summary, both The Odyssey and Odysseus are held to certain standards due to their roles as epics, which explains the cause for many events in the poem. It is now clear that Odysseus did not go on a ten-year voyage so he could be remembered for his epic feats as a hero. Odysseus was subject to the influence of a war mentality and the manipulation of the gods. He was an aggressive puppet, whose actions were in the control of the gods and destiny was in the hands of Homer. This shows how every action has multiple layers of causality. Odysseus’s actions were the result of many uncontrollable factors, yet readers still questioned Odysseus’s motives, believing that he was in control of himself. Using this example, readers can learn that it would not be right to judge others based on their actions without knowing what caused the person to do it in the first place. In both the world today and in the world of literature, a person cannot be defined by their actions, rather, their intentions.
The Odyssey – Heroes Not Of Our Time
When most people think of a hero, one thinks of a tall, muscular, and handsome being that could do no wrong. However, in the Odyssey, and even in real life, not all heroes are so perfect. Odysseus, is often rude, disrespectful, and not always the most attractive male. However, he is still a hero. Throughout the poem “The Odyssey”, Odysseus proves that not all heroes are perfect and that every hero is a little bit human. The hero’s journey is when a hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of wonders and dangerous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the powers, transformation in body and wisdom. There are many different journeys hero’s go through each individual hero has there different challenges and motivations to venture out of there normal world. Heroes come in different shapes and forms there is no certain way a hero needs to look. In Spiderman, Cinderella, and The Odyssey, each of the protagonists experiences personal development and growth of courage through the call to adventure, supreme ordeal, and return with the boon phases of the hero’s journey.
The hero’s journey is in a variety of works and all share the hero’s journey. In the odyssey “Must fight the trojan war” was said by Odysseus on page 301. This means that even facing death he will still fight in this war. Also, how he leaves behind his wife, son and normal life to receive the call to adventure. This relates to so many marines who leave their whole lives behind to fight in a great war. In the “CINDERELLA” lines 5-6 state “the king hosted a ball, to which all ladies of the land, were invited so that the Prince may choose a wife.” This means that Cinderella will have to choose from disobeying her stepsisters and go to the ball or stay home. This matters because Cinderella is going to be challenged if she does decide to go to this ball. Also, she will be out of her normal life and on a mysterious journey of her own. This is how many teens go to parties (balls) their parents refuse yet they manage their way out. Many heroes have their own journeys and different calls to their adventures as for Odysseus it was fighting as a leader in a big war and for Cinderella, it was to go to a ball hosted by a king.
In the hero’s journey, the second most important phase in the journey is the supreme ordeal which every hero phases. In “Cinderella” in paragraph 10 lines 3-4 “but the prince ignored her rag dress and allowed her to try. Her foot fit perfectly.”This means that Cinderella only has this last obstacle to face from living without her cruel stepsisters. This matters because it changes cinderella from a maid to a princess. In the Odyssey states “Six of the suitors attempt an attack on Odysseus, but Athena deflects their arrows. Odysseus and his men seize this opportunity to launch their own attack, and the suitors begin to fall”. This means that Odysseus is now in his last battle from receiving back his home and passing his last trial with the prize of taking back his normal life. This matters because it shows how Athena has been helping him come home. Even though these heroes have completely opposite lives yet they all share the hero’s journey with Odysseus fighting for his normal life and Cinderella living the life she had dreamt about. This can relate to how everyone in their life must pass obstacles to reach what they most want in life.
The last part of every hero’s journey is to return with the boon when the hero has finally passed their last trial and coming back home with something new. On the Odyssey states “Their secret! as she heard it told, her knees grew tremulous and weak, her heart failed her. With eyes brimming tears she ran to him, throwing her arms around his neck, and kissed him”. This means that Odysseus has now came home from defeating the suitors and now has passed Penelopy’s test and having his throne back with the love of his family back. This matters because has now passed every trial and obstacle to get his normal life back with more intelligence and bravery. In Spiderman’s story paragraph 10 line 3 states “Peter has now returned from his journey with a different perspective”. This means that Peter has learned many things in his journey of his own. This matters because peter has now came back with knowledge, love for himself and a new perspective. Even though these very different heroes and journeys, in the end, they all learned so much knowledge from their experiences.
Three very different heroes have gone through very different journeys that have all ended in learning so much knowledge and perspective in which they see their lives with the transformations they have gone through. Which were call to adventure, supreme ordeal, and return with the boon theses three heroes have gone through hardships, challenges, and transformations. Everyone will go through many heroes’ journeys through their lives it’s how one transforms and what knowledge one gains.
Review Of The Homer’s Odyssey
The Homer’s Odyssey was written in second right after the Iliad. When I think about this epic I think about a long boring poem but it is not that even that. The Odyssey is one of the two major Greek epic poems. The Odyssey mainly focuses on many Greek heroes, this epic was written to be performed to musical accompaniment. In the Odyssey the God’s play a critical role and there are so many gods in Greek mythology that it can become very confusing. The Odyssey epic poem, is the presence of God and variety of Goddess it is also concrete because in this epic, mortals have the abilities to talk them, to see them and to feel their presences around them.
In Homer’s Epic, what has really attracted people attention is the fact that God has the highest love and has been with them throughout the journey. The most important role God play in the Odyssey that God has the power to be praised and loved. As many individuals did not know God’s relationship with humans is manifest which makes the roles in peoples live in the epic. These Gods in the epic play a great role in each characters life but sometimes the gods are not treated godly. The will of the everlasting gods don’t change so quickly, it’s hard to change God minds in the Odyssey but not impossible. In the epic The Odyssey God works to help a men, and make them become strong and brave. As I learned the gods are very responsible for constructing fate to get the humans to do what they want, or are willing to do.
Do humans have a free will? I believe that we do have a free will, taking control of their lives regardless of what the gods would try to manipulate them to do because they will have a free will. As the Athens showed so much dislike to the Odysseus, in these case the line between the two showed a lot of divine intervention within human’s free will. Divine intervention often an integral part of ancient epic poetry as seen in the Odyssey. All the intervention that Athene does in the book is so that she can help Odysseus as much as she can, because she likes him. Another person is Poseidon which also intervenes after Odysseus and company visits the cyclops, Polyphemus, Poseidon son, and blinds him. This makes Odysseus seem like a stranger characters, being looked out for by a Goddess, and makes him seem like an unbeatable hero.
The first time she interferes with the plot in the council meeting of the gods. As well as intervening at the end of the book, he also intervened to take revenge of the sun-god. In conclusion, the Odyssey played a lot parts of today’s world as far as, the gods, how they had control of the humans, and people free will. This epic poems is one of my favorites and shows so much detail and structure. The odyssey also explains the struggles that Odysseus had to overcome to return home, which if you think about it this is the same thing people go through today.
Odyssey And The Most Important Conclusion From The Work
The Odyssey is an epic poem that contains numerous themes that bring significance to the different characters. Odysseus is an Ancient Greek hero involved in the Trojan War. Two main themes are Love/Trust & Hospitality. While Odysseus is gone to war, he experiences hospitality in some places more than others. One major relationship that resembles love and trust in the odyssey is between Odysseus & Penelope, as well as with his son, Telemachus.
The Trojan War is a war between the Greeks and the city of Troy. Odyssey is fighting among a number of other Greek heroes. Odysseus fights in the war, and takes 10 years to get back home. During this time, he experiences genuine hospitality in some places more than others. Hospitality is a major theme because the act and lack of it is expressed through the epic poem. In Greek tradition, hosts are expected to provide food for their guests. Odysseus does not always experience that type of hospitality. For example, Calypso does not show great hospitality towards Odysseus; she holds him as a prisoner. She falls in love with him & holds him captive. However, the Phaeacians offer Odysseus gifts and even help him find his way to Ithaca. Also, “You’re dumb, stranger, or from far away, if you ask me to fear the gods. Cyclopes don’t care about Zeus or his aegis or the blessed gods, since we are much stronger. I wouldn’t spare you or your men out of fear of Zeus. I would spare them only if I myself wanted to….” “There found Nestor sitting with his sons. All around him were men preparing for the feast, Skewering meat on spits and roasting it. But when they saw the new arrivals, they all crowded around, clasping their hands in welcome and inviting them to sit down. Nestor’s son Peisistratus was first, taking the both by the hand and having sit down at the feast on soft fleeces spread on the sandy beach beside his father and Thrasymedes his brother. Then he gave them servings of the inner organs and poured wine into a golden cup. Passing it on to Pallas Athena, he spoke directly to her.” The quote signifies that even though Odysseus is not from here, he is still respected. The general hospitality is cultural.
While Odysseus is away at war, his wife, Penelope, resists men who try to take Odysseus’ spot. The quote ” There is nothing more admirable that when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.” signifies how beautiful it is that Penelope remains loyal to Odysseus. It also signifies that they have a great amount of trust in each other.
Odyssey has strong love for his wife, Penelope & his son, Telemachus. Odysseus asks Penelope’s uncle for permission to marry her. The kings all fight over Penelope’s cousin, Helen, but Odysseus stops the kings from fighting; he gets Penelope. The Greek kings all agree to a pact: “We must all defend the man who married Helen, that way we avoid civil war.” Odysseus & Penelope get married & have a son, Telemachus. When Odysseus leaves for the Trojan War, numerous suites are begging to marry her, but Penelope refuses. The suitors constantly attempt to convince Penelope that Odysseus will not return. Both Penelope and Telemachus resist the suitors attempting to take Odysseus’ place while he is gone off to war. Telemachus says this about the suitors: “Since you ask me these question as my guest- This, no doubt, was once a perfect house, wealthy and fine, when its master was still home. But the gods frown and change all that when they whisk him off the face of the earth-. I would not grieve for him so much if he were dead. Gone down with his comrades in the town of Troy, or died in his friends’ arms after winding up the war. The entire Greek army would have buried him then, and great honor would have passed on to his son. But now the whirlwinds have passed on to his son. But now the whirlwinds have snatched him away without a trace. He’s vanished, gone, and left me pain and sorrow. And he’s not the only cause I have to grieve. The gods have given me other trials. All of the nobles who rule the islands- Doulichium, Same, wooded Zacynthus-and all those with power on rocky Ithaca are courting my mother and ruining our house. She refuses to make a marriage she hates, but can’t stop it either. They are eating us out of house and home, and will kill me someday.” When Odysseus finally returns, Penelope is in shock and can not believe that it is him. There is a secret about the bed that only they know about, so Penelope decides to test him. They both know the bed does not move, but she asks him to move it to another chamber. Odysseus is hurt by the fact that Penelope does not believe that it is really him. He says to Penelope, ” Woman – your words, they cut me to the core! Who could move my bed? Impossible task… I know, I built it myself.” Then he questions her by saying, “There’s our secret sign, I tell you, our life story! Does the bed, my lady, still stand planted firm?”. Penelope now realizes that it is really him and after twenty years, bursts into tears and runs into his arms.
The scene of the two reuniting shines light on the love and trust theme. Penelope plays her “gender role” by continuing to take care of the children and the household. Although she is approached with temptation by the suitors to remarry, she loves her husband enough to remain loyal, even though everything was going downhill. What the suitors fail to realize is, Penelope was 100% committed to her husband. Odysseus, himself, tells Penelope that if he does not return before Telemachus grows a beard on his chin, he wants her to pick another man to remarry. One part of her slightly doubts that he may never return, while another part of her still has faith that he is still alive and will return. Even after twenty years of Odysseus being gone to war, Penelope never loses faith in her husband’s return. This defines that true love is everlasting.
The Similarities And Differences in Ancient Greek Myths
The ancient Greek spiritual beliefs, religion and tradition are all reflected through the myths and legends for the past two thousand years. The stories and myths consist of heroes and legends who are the protagonists. Each story has a different message, but overall, they all have the same roots. In other words, there are similarities between the Greek mythologies that overlap some ideas.
The aspect in which they differ greatly would be culture, yet there are similarities there too. One of the famous epic poems called “The Iliad,” recounts many events of the Trojan war while portraying what culture was like too. The basic themes present in the poem were honor, duty, bravery and the willingness to fight with one’s all or accept their own death. After careful analyzation, it can be inferred that “The Iliad” had a culture that emphasized a focus on war. It glorifies war and fails to mention the losses and tragedies. In addition, the spotlight was on men most of the time. The mentioning of females who played important roles was extremely rare in this epic. This shows the readers a lot about the culture back in the day. The funny part though is that the female gods seemed more powerful.
Society portrayed war as the ultimate goal of life. In other words, men had to sacrifice everything to go to war. In such a society, there is no greater dignity that a man can have than dying in war for a noble cause. This culture in particular can be classified or labeled as “a warrior culture. ” There was no such thing as being a coward or staying at home with the family. Rather the men had to have duty, honor and bravery. Women were expected to support the male, even if meant their husbands dying in war. ““My dearest, this reckless courage of yours will destroy you. Have pity now on your little boy and on me, your unfortunate wife, who before long will be your widow. Soon the Achaeans will kill you, and when you are gone, it will be far better for me to die and sink down under the earth, since once you have met your fate I will have no comfort—only unending sorrow (Homer, 6. 394-502. )”” This appears in the poem when Andromache, Hector’s wife, begs her husband not to go to war and he has to calm her down. He explains to her he must go to war, as it is his number one duty. It was tough and painful for the women to understand and to let go when their husbands did this. Unfortunately, this did not matter because that was not the type of society they were living in.
In Homer’s other poem, “The Odyssey,” culture portrays man in a powerful light. The wife had less authority, while the man was the head of the household. This is illustrated in the beginning of the poem, with Penelope and Telemachus. Another common aspect in this culture was wealth measured in livestock and land. Most of their wealth came from the results or the loot from the battles.
One example of this is when Odysseus is offered gifts, but instead takes the spoils of war. Another interesting tradition seen throughout the poem was the sprinkling of wine. There were also rituals for guests and for gods most of the time. Physical strength was valued greatly as well, when Odysseus proves he is the only man strong enough to string the bow. Aside from physical characteristics, the spiritual or mind-related characteristics were just as important. Many of the characters in the poem were clever with the plans they came up with. Examples include Penelope tricking the suitors, or Odysseus and Athena’s plan. Strength is a common theme in this poem, physically, intellectually, and in humanity. In the playwright “Prometheus Bound,” women are seen as evil rather an inferior, as seen in “The Odyssey” and “The Iliad. ” That is one major difference in the cultures that caught my eye. Specifically, the female character also known as the first woman, is represented as nasty and tricky.
Furthermore, she opens the jar that releases all kind of horror into the world. This too can be seen as the males being in control because women are depicted as evil and in a bad connotation. And as if that weren’t enough, she then opens a jar that releases horrifying terribleness onto the world. A major theme was sacrifice too, especially when Prometheus puts himself on the line for the sake of humans. “I am in this wretchedness, yoked in these constraining bonds, because I gave privileges to mortals: I hunted for, and stole, a source of fire, putting it into a fennel-stalk, and it has shown itself to be mortals’ great resource and their teacher in every skill. Such is the offence for which I am paying this penalty, pinned in these bonds under an open sky. (101-113)”” In some ways the society and culture of the Ancient Greeks seem strange; in other ways they are mainly similar.
To conclude, there are many ways the cultures within these Greek myths differ. Overall, there are common themes within their cultures such as man being in power and having most of authority. The focus of what’s important in each poem of every society varies as well. Meaning, “The Iliad” focused on war, “The Odyssey” focused on strength, and lastly the “Prometheus Bound,” focuses on women. Each poem told a different story which showed different perspectives and aspects of Greek culture.
Odysseus’s Craft in Phaiakia
Odysseus’s Craft in Phaiakia
Just like a sculpture, Odysseus is chiseled and defined, and one could get lost within the intricacies of his mind. But how does he take a situation, and make it so refined, that he may observe, plan, and contrive? How does he use this cunning to manipulate, and for himself thus provide? All whilst distressed and merely trying to survive? On a whole this might be hard to deduce, so let us disregard the goddesses that he managed to seduce. However, one must be mentioned, because it gives context in the lead up for the question. Furthermore, go past the majority of his trials, and towards one of the last. One that required cunning, yet not might. One that required stealth, but not terror or fright. One in which his feet need not be light. Up until this moment Odysseus had already traveled and endured hardships for many years, and this enabled him to introspect, and revel in his mind’s yields, and also to learn of crocodile tears. All of this led to one of his most humble deceptions, hidden behind his crafty guise, vailed with this, his own disguise. But how did he get to this point?
In brief summation, he fought many years, and upon victory, left with cheers. Cheers and praises to the gods, but still they were displeased and saw to it he be lost. Thus, leaving troy he dealt with numerous trials, including monsters, gods, and supernatural phenomenon. After the loss of much and many, he landed flat down on his tail. In the land of Kalypso, who he bedded, and both had cause to wail. Each night Odysseus wailed with lamentation, sad he was deprived of his people and his nation. However, all was not bad. He was treated well, and of this he could be glad. After seven years of this he was granted departure, the ocean swelled to meet him, and the wind began to prosper. With the gods’ graces he created a raft, and landed in Phaiakia, in which he created one of his most humble deceptions, crafted articulately, yet subtly, almost escaping one’s perception. So, in this instance, how did he manage to convert the event into one that made him gain much? How did he do so?
In Phaiakia, Odysseus uses his cunning to manipulate the kings into providing him a vast amount of riches and free passage home using four progressive steps, which shall be designated as pity, honor, credibility, and expansion.The base step, and predominant one, one that is used very strongly at the initiation then subtly intertwined throughout the rest, is that of Pity. In order to set the stage and avoid deliberation, first pity must be presented as a primary goal of Odysseus. After arrival in Phaiakia and meeting the daughter of the head king, he prays to “Atrytone child of Zeus of the aegis,” and pleads that he may “come, as one loved and pitied, among the Phaiakians,” (VI; 324-327) and thus his preliminary goal is ironed out. He then proceeds to meet the king and his wife, and upon supplication of her, askes that “conveyance be given quickly to [his] country, since long now from [his] people [he] suffers hardships” (VII; 151-152) which enables him to set the stage amongst the Phaiakians as one who wishes to be pitied. Then, once the king asks of who he is, he starts a purposeful episode of self-pity in which he describes himself in comparison to others, stating “whoever it is of people you know who wear the greatest burden of misery, such are the ones whom I would equal for pain endured,” and that he could “tell of still more troubles that are all [his] and by the will of the gods [he] suffered,” (VII; 211-214) which further lowers himself in status by evoking more of an emotional, pitiable though about him in the mind of the Phaiakian king.
However, this begs the question that as one so crafty and ever devious, why would he wish to belittle himself? Odysseus plans to ask the Phaiakians for much, and the importance of the pity step is that it allows him to be emotionally attached to by the king, and this serves to strengthen the entirety of his manipulation. By setting a lower starting point and allowing himself to be able to build upon it, he not only is able to show what kind of a man he is, but he is able to do so in a humbler way, which makes it so the Phaiakian king can both be attached to Odysseus during his trouble and through his later redemption. Furthermore, by starting off at a low point and initiating humbly, generosity is encouraged easier, and this generosity will be strived for at a later point in his scheme. After establishing this pity, he then goes on to counter his degradation with a display of strength.This ties into his gaining of Honor, which he does through showing his physical prowess. After songs and feasting, and the gathering of lesser kings, Alkinoos, the predominant leader, called for competitive games to follow. This was initially frowned upon by Odysseus, but once challenged he was able to see how this could help him win glory, and thus build upon his lower stature of one pitiable and gain honor. Choosing the competition of discus which he knew he could win by a far shot, Odysseus “laid hold of a discus that was a bigger and thicker one, heavier not by a little than the one the Phaiakians had used for their sport,” and “let this fly from his ponderous hand,” (VIII; 186-189) managing to make it land far out past the lighter discus thrown by the native men. The materialistic benefit of this was that, after a short deliberation, Alkinoos decided that they should give him “a gift of friendship, as is becoming,” (VIII; 389) which roughly amounted to 12 talents of gold, because of how highly he now regarded Odysseus, after once seeing him as one purely to be pitied and now as one strong and to be honored. However, the more important aspect of what transpired was how he was perceived after this because of his craftiness, which is shown through his choice of sport. Furthermore, this choice of sport was not merely a coincidence, but one calculated by Odysseus.
Knowing he was stronger than the more laid-back dancing men of Phaiakia, he would none-the-less far outperform the men in a strength contest, and even more so in one that required both strength and calculative though. So, Odysseus decided to perform in the discus event. Now, why did he choose a discus that far outweighed those the Phaiakians used? If he were to use one of the same disks, his strength would be shown, but not in such a surprising manner, and Odysseus knew this. So, using his calculative hand, and calculative mind, he let loose a feat of sport so extraordinary and amazing he gained twelve talents of gold and heaps of honor.Next, Odysseus sets up his credibility through a crafty ploy of using another’s status in the community. He uses the credibility of Demodokus, “prized among the people.” (VIII;472) This well-known singer among the Phaiakians is well versed in the stories surrounding the Trojan war, and this is a war in which the feats of Odysseus stand out above many others.
So, resourceful Odysseus notices this and in order to gain favor of the bard, enabling him to make a favorable song request, he essentially bribes Demodokus by offering him “a piece from the loin of [a] pig with most of the meat left on, and edged with rich fat,” (VIII; 475-476) and then by addressing the man as one he prizes above all the other mortals present. The craftiest part of this event is that Odysseus then requests in the third person for Demodokus to sing of his most proud and honorable moment, his grandest achievement. He asks Demodokus to “sing [to them of] the wooden hors the stratagem great Odysseus filled once with men,” (VIII; 492-494) which allowed the Trojan war to be won. And so, the highly prized bard sings, of the famous Odysseus who crafted the wooden horse, and “endured the grimmest fighting that ever he had,” (VIII; 519-520) and won it there, in Ilion. Because Odysseus gained the favor of the bard through gift and praise, the bard was more inclined to sing of his request, and this is why the crafty Odysseus did so. Furthermore, knowing how highly respected and trusted this bard was among the Phaiakians, he knew the word of this man was worth much more than his own so, by manipulating the bard into singing of him in his shining moment, he manipulated the entire crowd into seeing the side of his character that he wished them to, through piggybacking on the bard’s credibility.
The most devious and grand aspect of this manipulation was in the execution of it, and how Odysseus managed to instill this though, respect, and acknowledgement about him, all while remaining unknown to the crowd. By referring to himself in the third person and asking another to speak for him without the knowledge of him being there, Odysseus avoids bragging about himself, and manipulates another person to do so in his stead, who is much more credible and much more trusted by the people.This then leads on towards his Expansion stage, which is much briefer than those aforementioned; however, it is also the most powerful. In this stage, he has already built upon himself through craftiness and manipulation, and because of this he may brag freely, with the confidence he will not be reproached. Now, he may begin to glorify himself and tie together his qualities and status, finalizing his buildup from one pitied to one to be held in the highest regard. He proclaims, “I am Odysseus son of Laertes, known before all men for the study of crafty designs, and my fame goes up to the heavens,” (IX; 19-20) and mentions how he was desired by both the goddess Kalypso and the goddess Circe to be their individual husband. (IX; 29-30) The importance of him stating this about himself and bragging as the final step of his process in manipulation of the kings is that he is much more easily accepted, and he is also guaranteed to be known before all, all present that is. Because he was just mentioned in the room by the bard as one who devised the winning strategy for the Trojan war, his statement about being known before all for the study of crafty designs is made to be true inside of that room. Furthermore, after hearing songs about the feats of Odysseus, his fame is made present in the mind of each person contained in the room.
So, because he made this statement afterwards, what may not have been true beforehand is able to be stated as a fact afterward, and the kings are indirectly forced to agree. Furthermore, adding that he was desired by two goddesses after bragging with what was manipulated into the minds of the others, his credibility is not doubted, and the men agree with his brag, and see Odysseus in an even grander light. This grander light upon Odysseus then leads to the king Alkinoos guaranteeing the safe passage of Odysseus along with all of his new, gifted possessions. (XI; 4-5)The first step of pity set the base for all the rest to follow and build upon, and highlights the extremities that Odysseus is willing to pass through in order to devise a grand manipulation. This step also cements an emotional connection between Alkinoos and the character of Odysseus, which makes him much more likely to be generous towards Odysseus. Then, Odysseus takes this base and builds honor atop of it, through displaying his prowess in an extraordinary fashion, of which he was much devising choosing the competition he did so with. Because of this, he was viewed in an honorable light by Alkinoos, who already had a connection with Odysseus, and this inspired Alkinoos to ask the lesser kings to donate 12 talents of gold to him, converting him from a beggar to a rich man. Third, Odysseus built upon his own credibility using the well-respected, admired singer, Demodokus. He did so by first manipulating Demodokus to like him, and then by having the bard sing of Odysseus’ grandest, most proud accomplishments, making himself known to all in his most favorable light through another person, whilst keeping it hidden who he is and speaking in the third person.
Lastly, Odysseus ties this all together, by starting his expansion stage, and bragging about himself before all, making himself appear bigger than life, and forcing himself to be respected for who he has been portrayed as. This then leads the king to promise beyond all doubt he will be conveyed safe passage home, because of who he is. Thus, through his craft in using the four steps of pity, honor, credibility, and expansion, Odysseus effectively used his cunning to manipulate the kings of Phaiakia into providing him with vast amounts of riches, and a safe passage home.
Compare and Contrast Analysis: Odysseus Vs Gilgamesh
Comparing and contrasting two stories can actually be quite interesting. It shows how characters are similar and different from one another, and it can show how the plots are similar and different. When it comes to comparing and contrasting two stories, it is usually easier to compare certain aspects than it is to contrast. Sometimes, authors are inspired by stories to write their own, which is why you can find similarities, but also some differences, between the Odyssey and The Epic of Gilgamesh. One main detail that can be pointed out when comparing is who Gilgamesh and Odyseuss are.
Odyseuss was the king of Ithaca. Gilgamesh was also an ancient king. Odysseuss shows several examples of being a strong person. An example of Odyseuss being strong is when he said, “I long to reach my home… It is my ever-failing wish.” Throughout the novel, Odysseus got distracted. There were times he wanted to stay at certain lands he had visited. Odysseuss also came across mythical creatures like the cyclops, for example. However, he wanted to get home to Penelope, and he fought through. Gilgamesh was also a strong person. In the story, it is stated that, “Gilgamesh was called a god and a man” Gilgamesh was half god, half human. By him being called a god, considering he was part god, Gilgamesh was most likely a strong leader. This is also how Gilgamesh and Odysseus are alike.
Odyseuss would always hang around the gods and act as if he were one. Gilgamesh, being part god, didn’t really brag about it, but still shows those traits as the story goes on. Another example of how Gilgamesh and Odysseuss are alike is their confidence. Since Gilgamesh was part god, he is seen as stronger than Odysseuss, but was very confident when fighting the Trojan War. That confidence is what kept Odysseuss alive and able to go home to Penelope. Gilgamesh was also very confident, which is why he was chosen to be king. Although there are many elements that can be compared in both Odysseus and Gilgamesh, there are some differences as well.
Even though Odyseuss and Gilgamesh have a lot in common, they are also very different characters. Gilgamesh can be seen as a selfish character depending on how you look at it. An example of him being selfish is when the narrator says, “He walks around in the enclosure of Uruk, like a wild bull he makes himself mighty, head raised” This quote shows that Gilgamesh can be very arrogant. Also, in the story, Gilgamesh just wanted attention, as if being king wasn’t enough for him. In the story, Gilgamesh did hardly anything to care for or protect those he should watch over. He would kill people that he should’ve been looking out for. Unlike Gilgamesh, Odyseuss wasn’t nearly as selfish as Gilgamesh. Yes, Odyseuss did always hang around the gods, but he respected and watched out for his subjects. He would do anything he could to protect the citizens of his home, Ithaca. That is why he went to war in the first place. By looking at this comparison, people might think Gilgamesh is a bad person. He is not necessarily a bad person, but a bad leader and influence on the people he rules over.
Aside from the previously stated comparisons, there are other ways Gilgamesh and Odyseuss can be compared. Gilgamesh and Odyseuss both make mistakes. Gilgamesh, as mentioned before, was a terrible leader. He didn’t give much respect to the people he ruled over, and he wasn’t that great of a person. Odyseuss also made mistakes. There were times when Odyseuss would be with Calypso and he wanted to stay. Eventually, he came to and realized that where he needed to be home with Penelope and Telemachus. Overall, when comparing the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Odyssey, we see similarities and differences between Gilgamesh and Odyseuss. By Homer and the author of the Epic of Gilgamesh writing similar stories, we are able to see more similarities than differences. This makes it more entertaining for readers as they could point these comparisons out. By taking the time to compare two stories, it really does show how similar and how different two main characters appear in a novel.
Gilgamesh and Odysseus: the Lessons Learned
The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Odyssey both deals with characters that question their mortality due to death. Gilgamesh and Odysseus are motivated by attaining glory and honor. Both of these stories show how fame can interact with how your life turns out in the underworld. The more people remember you, the more likely you will have an enjoyable afterlife. At the beginning of the epic, Gilgamesh believes that your heroic duties count the most in the afterlife, similar to Odysseus. Gilgamesh learned the difficult lesson that he too must face the reality of his own death. Both these heroes at first believe that through battle and legendary circumstances that they will receive everlasting glory. Both of these characters learned different things while confronting death. After being confronted by death, Gilgmesh and Odysseus discovers that our accomplishments is not what makes you be remembered but through meaningful relationships with others.
At first, Gilgamesh does not worry about death. He figures if he dies doing something heroic, then people will remember him forever. That to him is like living forever. Enkidu tries to talk Gilgamesh out of going to fight, but Gilgamesh replies, ‘Who, my friend, can go up to heaven?….But people’s days are numbered….Here you are, even you, afraid of death. What good is your bravery’s might….I must establish eternal fame.’ (The Epic of Gilgamesh, 20). Gilgamesh goal is to gain everlasting fame. He believes going on this battle with Enkidu will be nothing but great success, but everything changes though after the death of Enkidu. Enkidu’s death makes Gilgamesh want to live forever. Gilgamesh wants to escape death and tries to learn from Utanapishtim how to live forever. Utnapishtim’s hints to end his life as a careless man and his dreams of immortality and return to the life of humanity and peace.
Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh of the flood. He states that creation also contains the seed of death, meaning death is inescapable. Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh of the flood. Gilgamesh does not listen. He still wants to be immortal. Utnapishtim told him to stay up for 6 nights. Gilgamesh sleeps and wakes up and the seven day. His humanity made him fail the test, no man can stay up for that long. Utnapishtim tells him to give up his fancy life and return home. After returning to Urk Gilgamesh realized his biggest accomplishment. He built a civilization that will continue long after his death. He did not need the heroic remembrance if the people at home remember him simply from building the walls to protect them. Just like Gilgamesh, Odysseus was confronted by death. He visits the underworld with this crew. The first person he sees was his mother. While Odysseus has been seeking glory and adventure, his family was suffering at home.
After talking to his mother, his desire for glory slowly changes for the desire of going home. His central value changes from glory to family honor. He wants to go home and protect his wife and son. Odysseus is next visited by the ghost of Achilles, who has been sent to the Underworld after being killed at war. He is a king in the underworld for his glory, but he made it clear that he regrets his own choice, “No winning words about death to me, shining Odysseus! By god, I’d rather slave on earth for another man – “If he could go back, he would choose to live a long, forgettable life, rather than die a young death. Achilles sacrifice his pleasures in life for the abstract promise of glory. Surprising, he still happy to hear that his son has become a great warrior though, showing how family continue your legacy. Odysseus had wished he could have died on the battlefield, but through his encounter with Achilles makes him see that he should savor his home and his family. Putting this two stories together. Odysseus at first was looking towards death. Fighting in battle meant the best life in the underworld.
After visiting Odysseus realize that may not be the case. He learned what was going back at home which made him want to go back and honor his family. Gilgamesh at first had you only live once attitude. Through his friendship with Enkidu Gilgamesh became a better leader to his people. He was able to gain understanding and connect with the people of Urk. Both these heroes at first believe that through battle and legendary circumstances that they will receive everlasting glory. While confronting death, Gilgamesh returns to Uruk having learned that life is measured not by fame, but by the time he spent while alive and the people with which he surrounded himself. Family plays an important role for greek culture. Family reflects on your legacy not fame and glory.
- Homer, Fitzgerald, R., Erni, H., & Homer,. (1963). The Odyssey. Garden City, N.Y: Anchor Books.
- Sandars, N. K. (1972). The epic of Gilgamesh. Harmondsworth: Penguin.