Odysseus Identity In Ancient Greek Life In Homer's The Odyssey

1076 Words3 Pages

Homer’s famous work, The Odyssey, is the epic tale of Odysseus’ decade-long journey to return home from the Trojan War. It was during the finale of the war, Battle of Troy, that Odysseus employed his celebrated Wooden Horse stratagem. His treacherous journey home is marked by catastrophe after catastrophe, but Homer uses these challenges to develop Odysseus’ character, to humble him and to give him knowledge. This essay will examine Odysseus’ identity and its progression throughout the book; the explanation of the metaphor of “home”; ancient Greek society; and the character development of Penelope, Telemachus and the Suitors.
Odysseus began his journey after the Battle of Troy and the conclusion of the Trojan War. The moment he and his fleet
He is also unlike the common man in that he is provided with forbidden knowledge, the most prominent illustration being his ability to enter the land of the dead, Hades (Book 11). Odysseus is not only allowed to enter, but also communicate with its inhabitants and he learns here that death is a “socially levelling experience”-even the greatest war heroes die. His men, however, are not as privileged, as they are not considered ‘worthy’ due to their impetuous nature and stupidity, which ultimately contributed to their demises. This is especially clear when Zeus kills all of the remaining of Odysseus’ men for slaughtering the sun god’s, Helios’, cattle, leaving only Odysseus alive. This further emphasizes that Odysseus was more than just a common man, but one of great privilege given to him by the
Throughout the tale, Telemachus continually grows into the role of a confident, clever and wise young man, striving to live up to his reputation as Odysseus’ son and Prince of Ithaca. His mother, and Odysseus’ wife, Penelope, is a symbol of marital fidelity, having waited for her husband’s return for twenty long years and refusing to succumb to the Suitors demands that she marry one of them, and instead employing trickery and subterfuge to evade their pressing stipulations. In stark contrast, the Suitors are very static characters, neither growing nor changing in character development throughout the tale. Both Telemachus and Penelope are dynamic characters because their characters grow, develop and change. Through the reading of this epic poem of Odysseus’ ten-year journey, we also gain a keen insight into ancient Greek society, and the social expectations one might encounter. The Greeks were very hospitable and very welcoming, even to foreign outsiders. There is also a great presence of both aristocracy and patriarchy in action appearing in this tale, both key aspects of ancient Greek

Open Document