Homer's The Odyssey Essay

1563 words - 6 pages

Homer's The Odyssey
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In Homer’s historic epic The Odyssey the protagonist, Odysseus, is venturing home to his native land of Ithaca. Throughout the story Odysseus is faced with many great challenges and is forced to make many decisions that will greatly affect his life and that of everyone around him. Each decision is crucial to his survival and his journey home. Homer portrays many patterns that are susceptible throughout the tale. One of the major themes that he portrays is that temptation can befall any man, even Odysseus. Many times throughout the story Odysseus and his men fall or are delayed due to the sweet temptations that the world offers them. These temptations do not end even after Odysseus arrives home. There are many times during and after his journeys that Odysseus’ plan almost fails due to the temptations that surround him.

Odysseus’ falls victim to both temptation and his own character many times during his adventure. Many times during the story, Odysseus’ story telling skills are brought out. When Odysseus first lands on the island of the Phaecians he is reluctant to tell anyone who he is or what he has done. Yet, after hearing many stories of the plight of the Greeks at Troy, he eventually is overcome by the tales of the bard. Once his true identity has been revealed he can not help but tell his parable to all those that would listen (9.42-45). For someone who is so eager to return to his homeland, he feels the need to recount his adventure for a whole crowd of people. The temptation to receive the praise and glory for being the great “Odysseus” overcomes him. This would not be the first time this trait of Odysseus’ would reveal itself. During his short time on the Island of the Cyclops, Odysseus fools Polyphemus by claiming that his name is “Nobody.” For Odysseus it seems that his time being “Nobody” is unbearable. As soon as Odysseus and his remaining men have left the island he quickly discloses himself as the great Odysseus (9. 561-3). Yet again the temptation to declare himself as the almighty Odysseus has become apparent. This would prove to be one of the worst ideas that Odysseus ever had. For if he had never revealed himself, Polyphemus’ father, Poseidon, would not know who to take revenge on for his blind son. Therefore stopping the majority of Odysseus’ trials from ever having to happen.

There comes a point in the story where Odysseus and his men are constantly bombarded with offerings for food, comfort and a long happy life. Upon leaving Aeolus’ island for the second time and quickly escaping the Laestrygonians, Odysseus and his crew stumble upon Circe’s island of Aeaea. After a few tribulations with Circe the men are all comforted, bathed and fed for a years time. The crew stays on Circe’s island for an entire year, and are tempted to spend the rest of their days with her (10. 327-8). Odysseus is also tempted considering he lives there, with...

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