The Suitors in The Odyssey: The Clash Between Homer and Archilochus
Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, is about Odysseus and his long voyage home from the Trojan War. He had a very hard time getting home from Troy, Odysseus had disrespected the gods so they weren’t in his favor. He sailed from Troy with many ships, gold, slaves, and men from Ithaca who had come with him to war. Shipwrecks, encounters with monsters and seductresses, in some part due to obstructions put in his path by the god Poseidon, who was angry at Odysseus for blinding his son Polyphemus. When he returns he finds his home taken over by idle rich men seeking to marry his wife and take over his kingdom because he is assumed dead. Disguised, he kills all the suitors and is restored to his beloved Penelope, in part with help from the goddess Athena. Finally, Odysseus went back to ruling his kingdom with Penelope. This relates to the hero cycle and makes Odysseus a classic hero. Ordinary world, tests, allies and enemies, and return with elixir are three parts that make Odysseus a classic hero in the Odyssey. In the story, the reader meets Odysseus and his ordinary world at the start of the book. Odysseus can’t stand Calypso, ‘Ah great goddess don’t be angry with me, please.
All that you say is true, how well I know. Look at my wise Penelope. She falls far short of you, your beauty, stature. She is mortal after all and you, you never age or die.” Calypso is a goddess that gives Odysseus a luxurious place to stay and the offer of her love, but Odysseus is not pleased by all this and desires to be back at home with his mortal wife. This is clear when Odysseus says ‘Nevertheless I long- I pine, all my days – to travel home and see the dawn of my return. And if a god will wreck me yet again on the wine-dark sea, I can bear that too, with a spirit tempered to endure.
Much I have suffered, labored long and hard by now in the waves and wars. Add this to the total – bring the trial on!’ Evidently Odysseus is not enjoying being with Calypso in his ordinary world. In the story, Odysseus’ tests, allies and enemies were mostly throughout the book. Odysseus is thwarted with many tests as he travels back to Ithaca. One of Odysseus’ tests was Polyphemus, son of Poseidon. ‘Cyclops – if any man on the face of the earth should ask you who blinded you, shamed you so – say Odysseus, raider of cities, he gouged out your eye, Laertes’ son who makes his home in Ithaca!’ Odysseus had allies such as King Alcinous which helped Odysseus sail home.’Alcinous, majesty, shining among your island people, make your libations, launch me safely on my way – to one and all, farewell! All is now made good, my heart’s desire, your convoy home, your precious, loving gifts, and the gods of Olympus bless them for me! May I find an unswerving wife when I reach home, and loved ones hale, unharmed!’ To sum up, Odysseus’ tests, allies and enemies are another example of the hero cycle. In the story, the reader learns Odysseus’ return with elixir when he arrives home from his journey. Odysseus and his son expel the suitors from their home by force. ‘You dogs, you never thought I would any more come back from the land of Troy, and because of that you despoiled my household, and forcibly took my serving women to sleep beside you, and sought to win my wife while I was still alive, fearing neither the immortal gods who hold the wide heaven, nor any resentment sprung from men to be yours in the future.’ Penelope, seeing how her husband has changed, tests him to make sure it is actually him. She tells him she moved their bed. He replies, correctly ‘Who could move my bed? Impossible task, even for some skilled craftsman’ As a result, Odysseus’ return with elixir is one more example of the hero cycle in The Odyssey.
As can be seen, Odysseus is a classic hero in the Odyssey because Ordinary world, tests, allies and enemies, and return with elixir. Odysseus can’t stand Calypso, Odysseus is thwarted with many tests as he travels back to Ithaca, Odysseus and his son expel the suitors from their home by force. Odysseus follows the hero cycle and is shown to be a classic hero.
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Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, is about Odysseus and his long voyage home from the Trojan War. He had a very hard time getting home from Troy, Odysseus had disrespected […]