Deception in Homer's The Odyssey Essay

Deception in Homer's The Odyssey Essay

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Hiding behind a false identity or a false story is sometimes the easiest way to face difficult decisions. Some believe that, if they make others think something other than the truth, they will have an advantage and, in turn, be superior. Stephen Porter and John C. Yuille acknowledge that “deception is the deliberate misrepresentation of facts through words or actions” (450). Deception is a form of disguise used by humans to hide who they are, what they feel, or even what they have done. In the Bible, it states that “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light,” showing that, not only mortals use falsehood to achieve what they strive for, but that deities also utilize these methods of duplicity to infiltrate the minds of the mortals who worship them, or even in their own myths, where the immortals trick others for their own advancement (The Official King James Bible Online, 2 Cor. 11: 14). Deception is used for many different psychological reasons and it is used in Homer’s The Odyssey by many characters in the poem, including mortals, gods and goddesses.
Odysseus is a man of many faces: war hero, adventure seeker, devout Hellenist when he chooses to be, and even bloody murderer. The face he is most known for in The Odyssey, though, is a cunning and deceitful face. As he is planning to escape the cave of the one-eyed son of Poseidon, the Kyklops Polyphemos, Odysseus tells Polyphemos that “[his] name is Nohbdy: mother, father, and friends,/ everyone calls [him] Nohbdy’ (Homer: IX, 397-8). According to Ahuvia Kahane, “calling himself ‘[Nohbdy]’ is Odysseus’ strategy for survival in a deadly world of monsters,” and in this instance, Odysseus does survive, along with most of his men by creating a false identity so t...


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...dings on Homer. Ed. Bruno Leone. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1998. 158-164.
“Dissociative Identity Disorder.” NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illnesses. NAMI, 1996-2014. Web. 14 May 2014. http://www.nami.org
Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fitzgerald. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998.
Kahane, Ahuvia. “The Odyssey.” Homer: A Guide for the Perplexed. New York: Bloomsbury, 2012. 121-145.
“Other Translations of 2 Corinthians 11:14.” The Official King James Bible Online. King James Bible Online, 2014. Web. 14 May 2014. http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org
Porter, Stephen and John C. Yuille. “Deception.” The Encyclopedia of Psychology. Ed. Alan E. Kadzin. Vol. 2. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. 448-452.
“Poseidon.” GreekGods.org: Mythology of Ancient Greece. greek-gods.org, 2013. Web. 14 May 2014.

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