Essay On The Greek Values And Themes Explored In The Odyssey
In the epic poem, The Odyssey, by Homer, one Greek value explored is Kleos, otherwise known as glory. This value is not only explored in the Odyssey by the protagonist (Odysseus), but is also used to explore different themes through the protagonist reaching their Kleos. Some examples of Kleos would be when Odysseus blinds the Kyklops, returns home after 20 years out at sea, and gets his revenge on the suitors. Throughout all of these events, Odysseus’s behavior also reveals themes throughout the epic such as intelligence, patience, and arrogance. In the middle of Odysseus’s journey, Odysseus comes upon a cave on a small island. Later did he and his men know that they would soon be the guests of a Kyklops named Polyphemus.
After being patient, Odysseus and his men blind the Kyklops and escape. One example of Odysseus reaching Kleos is when he says, “ Kyklops, if ever mortal man inquire how you were put to shame and blinded, tell him Odysseus, raider of cities, took your eye: Laertes’ son, whose home’s on Ithaka!” Odysseus tells the Kyklops that it was him who blinded Polyphemus after him and his men escaped. A theme shown through Odysseus’s action is arrogance.
Another example of Kleos is when Odysseus returns home to Ithaka disguised as an old beggar. One quote that best exemplifies this is when Athena says,” Now, for a while, I shall transform you; not a soul will know you, the clear skin of your arms and legs shriveled, your chestnut hair all gone, your body dressed in a sacking that a man would gag to see, and the two eyes, that were so brilliant, dirtied, contemptible, you shall seem to your enemies, as to the wife and son you left behind.”
After Odysseus returns to Ithaka, Athena disguises Odysseus as an old beggar so he can have an even greater Kleos of seeing his wife and son again and defeating the suitors. One theme created throughout this scene is patience because Odysseus plans to wait for the right moment to win his wife and son back. Lastly, Odysseus reaches his Kleos by defeating the suitors in a match to test which man can bend the bow of Odysseus. An example of this is when the author says, “And Odysseus took his time, turning the bow, tapping it, every inch, for borings that termites might have made while the master of the weapon was abroad.
The suitors were now watching him… so effortlessly Odysseus in one motion strung the bow. Then slid his right hand down the cord and plucked it, so the taut gut vibrating hummed and sang a swallow’s note.” Homer is talking about how effortlessly Odysseus strings the bow and prepares to shoot the arrow. Odysseus creates intelligence as a theme because he creates a plan to get his revenge on the suitors. In the epic poem, The Odyssey, by Homer, Kleos, is explored by Odysseus when he defeats the Kyklops, returns home to Ithaka, and gets revenge on the suitors. This value explored by Odysseus also creates themes such as intelligence, patience, and arrogance. Because themes are created, the audience of the novel has the opportunity to connect with the novel and apply the themes to real life situations.
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