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Odyssey Essay

 

Being attacked by one eyed monsters, huge storms, a giant sea dragon, and

scores of angry men were just a few of the perils Odysseus had to overcome.

He did not only overcome them, but he did so in a way that would forever be

thought of as heroic. Odysseus, the epic hero of Homer's The Odyssey

demonstrates the Greek ideal of leadership, bravery, and devotion to the

gods. Odysseus was a great leader and showed his leadership abilities many

times, times where his men were ready to give up and accept their fate. With

his motivational speeches he turned his men into dangerous fighters who

would keep on going hard until they were struck down, eaten, or thrown into

the churning seas. One example of this was during Scylla and Charybdis.

Odysseus' men were tired and didn't want to proceed, but Odysseus said:

"Friends, have we never been in danger before this? More fearsome, is it now,

then when we faced Cyclops? Did I not keep my nerve, and use my wits to find

a way out?" (P. 708, L. 766) There are also times when all the men are afraid,

but here Odysseus shows he's in charge and speaks up when nobody wants

to: "We all felt pressure in our hearts, but I spoke up in replyÉ" (P. 689, L.

203) Odysseus gave warnings to help his fellow shipmates and tried to protect

them from the wrath of the gods: "Old shipmates, our stores are in the ship's

hold, food and drink; the cattle here are not for our provision, or we pay dearly

for it." (P. 710, L. 840) Odysseus was not only a great leader, but also a very

brave man. There were also many times when Odysseus showed how brave

he was. In this next example involving the Cyclops Odysseus shows that he is

not the type of leader that sits on safe land while he sends his men in to kill,

but a leader who enjoys nothing more than being engaged in battle with his

men. "I took my twelve best fighters and went ahead." (P. 687, L. 136)

Odysseus also had the heart of a fighter, he would do battle whenever

necessary, no matter whom his opponent was, in this case the giant Cyclops:

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"drawing the sharp sword from my hip I went to stab him." (P. 690, L. 248)

Though bravery is nothing without a blessing from the gods. Throughout the

whole story Odysseus showed that he was in the god's favor, and that he had

to give sacrifices and ceremonies to the gods in order for them to bless him,

like in this following instance: "I addressed the breathless dead than vowed to

slaughter my best heifer." (P. 700, L. 556) He also knew that when he was in

the god's favor he could use it to his advantage: "Please provide us with food

and shelter, remember Zeus will avenge the unoffending guest." (P. 689, L.

215) He also showed that he had faith in the gods and truly believed in what

they could do. "If only Athena would grant what he prayed for." (P. 690, L.

264) I think that this is a great story that tells us of a man who could do just

about everything and could do it so well people thought he was immortal. Until

reading this story I assumed that Helios, Olympus, Mercury, and Saturn were

just company names that people made up. I didn't fully understand why the

planets are called what they are or where certain terms came from. It's hard to

believe that this story was a way of life to many Greeks and that people

studied Odysseus and tried to model themselves after him. I feel that this is

something everybody should read and something I thoroughly enjoyed

reading.

 


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