Kleos In The Odyssey: The Importance Of Odysseus

1705 Words7 Pages
Odysseus, known as an iconic Greek king and warrior of Ithaca, has all of the traits that a mighty king would have. His tale and reputation are one that would continue to live on long after his passing. This fame and reputation is known as kleos. Kleos, in Greek, means renown or honor, it symbolizes what you hear about someone through another person. Kleos is a common theme in Homer 's epic, the Odyssey, the main example being that of Odysseus and his son Telemachus, who is concerned that his father may have died a pathetic and pitiable death at sea rather than a reputable and gracious one in battle. Kleos has proven to be very important to Odysseus time and time again. From the way he is introduced, to his actions, to the way he is viewed…show more content…
For instance, Odysseus develops two relationships outside of his marriage – one of which was a goddess. Penelope remains loyal to her heroic husband, and even avoids suitors by unraveling the shroud she weaves for Odysseus during the day. The handmaidens that assist circumspect Penelope act as reminders to her consistent virtue and loyalty to her husband as they outline what not to do. The handmaidens are untruthful to Penelope and report her actions to the suitors, engage in festivities with the suitors, and do not stand by her side when she needs them. Penelope undergoes the struggles because she knows that her Odysseus will return to her, and he is a man worth waiting on. However, of course, Penelope does not know about these relationships that Odysseus has taken part in. Though, Penelope still believes that Odysseus is a good man and is proud to be his wife. Odysseus wants to return to his wife but he has everything and more with Calypso on her island. He could have stayed there and would have been very happy there, however he would not have earned his kleos for his quests. If he stayed with Calypso then no one would hear his great tales of battle or his amazing cunning abilities. Penelope is great and all, but she’s no…show more content…
If other people do not believe in him or believe what others say about him then the kleos does not exist. I believe that Odysseus knows he had to maintain this amazing warrior-like composure in order to have people believe the stories they hear about him. Granted he does have the Gods to assist him and make these feats possible. But still if he did not look the part people may just assume that he had help from the gods and I believe that it would be considered an equivalent to using steroids to enhance your sports performance. It was be very odd and suspicious if Odysseus could not string his own bow and then boom magically he could. Or if someone also came up and could also string it because they were equally as strong. How Odysseus looks to other people is vital to him keeping him kleos and creating new kleos. If he were to come back from his 20 year journey and looked like a skinny hungry beggar man, no one would believe that he out smarted Polyphemus or managed to survive the sirens.
Athena had advised Odysseus that the best way to become reintroduced into his home, would be to first see what had changed. However the only way for him to do this would be to do it as a beggar. When Odysseus finally returned to Ithaca, Athena had him disguise himself at first to see what has changed in the 20 years he had been gone. He spoke with the shepherd Eumaeus about all the
Open Document