Life in Homer's Odyssey

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The Odyssey: Life

Odyssey a long series of wanderings filled with notable experience and hardships, or in other words the journey of life. Homer's The Odyssey is an epic poem telling of one man's journey. Odysseus, the chosen traveler of this Odyssey, represents the will and perseverance of all humanity. Odysseus' journey symbolizes the true toils of mankind's development through, agility, doubt, and faith.

In life, agility is needed time and time again, to get out of sticky situations. Odysseus' agility is well proven when he uses his guile to outsmart the Cyclops. While trapped in the cave of Polyphemus, the Cyclops, Odysseus has to come up with a quick escape plan to save himself and his remaining comrades. Using his cunning ways, he introduces himself to the Cyclops as Noman, and then rids him of his one eye. In a cry for help, Polyphemus calls out, "Friends, Noman is murdering me by craft..." (86). Being able to respond quickly in desperate situations gives Odysseus power over his enemy. Odysseus' agility is in many ways more powerful than his force.

Odysseus often uses verbal irony to charm and win the ways of others. In situations in which Odysseus lacks control, he frequently uses fake flattery to persuade others of his opinion. In an effort to return on his homeward way, from the island of Calypso, Odysseus compares Calypso to his wife Penelope, saying to her, "Full well I know that heedful Penelope, compared with you, is poor to look upon in height and beauty; for she is human..." (49). By boosting the confidence of Calypso, Odysseus is sent on his way with good wishes. The power to come up with such clever words is an example of Odysseus' agility.

Using his agility, Odysseus overpo...

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...ou would be much surprised to see his speed and strength. For nothing could escape him in the forest-depth, no creature that he started; he was keen upon the scent. Now he has come ill. In a strange land his master perished" (167). Argos and Odysseus are reflective of each other because they are both weary of travel and pain, yet they both carry on and remain faithful. This reliance and faith upon each other has carried them through the hardships of their Odysseys and brought them together in the end.

The trials of The Odyssey are easily symbolic of those of life. In life, obstacles, similar to those of Odysseus', are set and similar challenges must be overcome. Without development through agility, doubt and faith, Odysseus would have been venturing through his Odyssey blindly. Without the same developments, mankind will also venture through life blindly.
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