Essay on Analysis Of ' The Odyssey '

Essay on Analysis Of ' The Odyssey '

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The Ancient Greeks sought to define how humans should view their lives and how to create an existence dedicated to the basis of the “ideal” nature. This existence would be lived so as to create an “honorable” death upon their life’s end. Within their plays, both dramas and comedies, they sought to show the most extreme characteristics of human nature, those of the wise and worthy of Greek kleos along with the weak and greedy of mind, and how they were each entitled to a death but of varying significance. The Odyssey, their greatest surviving drama, stands as the epitome of defining both the flawed and ideal human and how each individual should approach death and its rewards and cautions through their journeys. Death is shown to be the consequence of their search for kleos, whether attained or otherwise, driven in part by human greed and recklessness as they fail to remain faithful to their true destination, home in Ithaca.
Odysseus’s crew represented the folly of human nature present in uncontrolled recklessness. His crew makes many mistakes as they traverse across the sea in their return to Ithaca. As they lay stranded and trapped upon the island of Helios, Eurylochos said. “All deaths are hateful to miserable mortals, but the most pitiable death of all is to starve” (144). Despite the warning from Odysseus that they will all be doomed should they kill any of the sacred cows upon the island, they fear the death without remembrance and honor much more so then they fear the potential wrath of the gods that Odysseus has spoken of. This recklessness stands as their final temptation the crew faced as it resulted in each of its members’ death but it was far from their only opportunity in which they faltered.
Even in their early adve...


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...man remains strong and faithful, as Odysseus has, to both the family and his homeland. Odysseus succeeds in returning home while his crew does not because he remains strong in his dedication to home and his avoidance of temptations and distractions, placing family before glory.
Death is an inevitable in the human life, whether by natural or “divine” means. The Odyssey presents the question to us of what is a meaningful and honorable death. While we are lead to believe originally that the warrior death born in glory and kleos is the greatest, we see it reconstructed into a more natural death, one in the defense of the family such as Odysseus leads. Human greed and recklessness can obscure the ultimate goals in a warrior but a life lived in service of the country and family is shown to have a much more defining impact upon the memory that survives when we have passed.

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