Identity In The Odyssey

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I chose to write my essay on the topic of the theme of identity in Homer’s the Odyssey. The theme of identity is presented quite frequently throughout the Odyssey, and is a key component of the story. By reading the Odyssey, we learn that identity was a huge part of social dynamics in Ancient Greece. This is why I chose this theme for the thesis of my essay.
Many characters are disguised throughout the course of the Odyssey. By changing their appearance, these characters enable themselves to alter the progression of events in the story. One of these characters was Athena. When Odysseus finally returns to Ithica, Athena is there, disguised as a shepherd boy. She is described as “Looking for all the world a young shepherd boy…” Because Odysseus …show more content…

In order to discover who was loyal to the king, Athena disguised Odysseus as a beggar. “She shriveled the supple skin on his lithe limbs, stripped the russet curls from his head, covered his body top to toe with the wrinkled hide of an old man and dimmed the fire in his eyes, so shining once. She turned his shirt and cloak into squalid rags, ripped and filthy, smeared with grime and soot. She flung over this the long pelt of a bounding deer, rubbed bare, and gave him a staff and beggar's sack, torn and tattered, slung from a fraying rope.” The disguise also allowed Odysseus to survey the situation in the castle. These observations provided him with the small details of his plan. Being inside the castle also allowed Odysseus to know the correct time to reveal himself and start the fight. “Now stripping back his rags Odysseus master of craft and battle vaulted onto the great threshold, gripping his bow and quiver bristling arrows, and poured his flashing shafts before him, loose at his feet, and thundered out to all the suitors: "Look — your crucial test is finished, now, at last!”” Because he knew the exact circumstances occurring in the castle, Odysseus was able to make good decisions and effectively kill all the suitors who mocked him and ravaged his house.
By reading and analyzing the Odyssey, we can understand how appearance is a major part of your identity. When the suitors found who who Odysseus was, the repented for their crimes. However, they were fine with insulting a beggar. We also learn that the changes of identities in the Odyssey are tied to the fates and actions of the characters. Robert L. Tener writes that “Odysseus reminds us that identity resides not only in the present, but in the past and in the future as

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