Homer's great literary classic, The Odyssey, represents and illustrates many emotional and mental values. All of these values can be classified under three different main themes that are constant throughout the epic tale. These themes are: A boy's struggle to be a man, a king's struggle to reclaim his kingdom, and a man's struggle to return home. As one reads this book it will become more and more evident to them that a man's struggle to get home is the most important theme throughout Homer's adventure.
Throughout the course of his journey, Odysseus is haunted by the thought of his enemy, Poseidon, who has far more power than Odysseus and strives to keep him from returning to Ithaca. Poseidon still holds a grudge against Odysseus for blinding Polyphemus at his cave. Soon before Odysseus reaches Phaeacia’s shores with hope of rescue, Poseidon notices that “he’s [Odysseus] fated to escape his noose of pain” if he makes it to Phaeacia, and threatens to “give that man [Odysseus] his swamping full of trouble” to prevent him from reaching his destination (Homer 5:318-320). While Odysseus is among the most powerful mortals, he is not comparable to Poseidon. This is why, in a situation like this, it is an important skill to know your strengths, and act intelligently.
The Odyssey states,”My men were mutinous...so doom appeared to us. Six benches were left empty on every ship.”(563). Odysseus’ men did not listen to him, and as a result many good men died. If they had all listened to him, they would have survived the experience. In The Odyssey, the prophet Tiresias says,”...all of this shall be just as I foretold.”(579). This prophet gave Odysseus warnings because he knew what would happen if Odysseus and his men did not follow his instructions. He also knew Odysseus’ men would disobey him, and he made this known to Odysseus. Also in the Odyssey, Odysseus says,”I told them nothing because they could do nothing.”(584). Odysseus knew he was sending some of his men to die, but he also knew that if he told his men this, nobody would ever get home. The men would panic and not be able to proceed. He knew that he had to choose the lesser of two evils, even if it meant death for some of the men. Odysseus was their authority, and he knew better than his
Poseidon, the god of the sea, is angered by the death of his son, the Cyclops. When Odysseus and his crew stopped off at the Cyclopes island on their way home from war, the cyclops, Polyphemus, begins terrorizing Odysseus’ men. Odysseus blinded him and boasted about the event. He sends storms against Odysseus and tries to wreak his ship in Book 5. While shipwrecked at sea, on a raft – which was aided by Athena – Poseidon sends another storm, washing Odysseus up on shore. Eventually, Odysseus is on another ship gifted to him by the Phaeacians, Poseidon turns the ship to stone and sinks while pulling into the harbor at Scheria. The idea that “a bad storm” can affect a well-trained
A hero isn’t shaped by his strengths but by the values he possesses. Homer’s epic, The Odyssey, reveals the moral and ethical constitution of the ancient Greeks. Over time, certain cultures have grown to value a number of human characteristics. Those who acquire such values become respected heroes. After the fall of Troy, the protagonist of the epic, Odysseus, set sail for his home, Ithaca, where his faithful wife and son were waiting for him. Over the course of his journey, Odysseus faced some of the most ferocious opponents known to the Greeks. Even through this formidable journey, Odysseus and his family have stayed true to the diverse aspects of the ancient Greeks. The Odyssey exemplifies the human ideals of hospitality, loyalty and perseverance.
The Ancient Greeks knew that to survive in their ever-evolving society, a person would needed to live more practically, putting more of an emphasis on learning and knowledge than of strength and power. If looked at in this light, The Odyssey can be viewed as an example of Ancient Greek society communicating to it's people the evolution of society itself.
Odysseus is a hero because he acts courageously while facing the many challenges he encounters. Odysseus’s shows great bravery when he engages in physical challenges. Odysseus daringly fights against the suitors, while significantly outnumbered: “For I must tell you this is no affair / of ten or even twice ten men, but scores, throngs of them” (XVI, 291 – 293). Even though Odysseus is facing hundreds of men, his bravery keeps him confident that he can win the battle. Odysseus must use his physical strength when Poseidon punishes him with turbulent waves: “Odysseus’s knees grew slack, his heart / sickened, and he said within himself / Rag of man that I am, is this the end of me?” (V, 307 – 309). Odysseus is exhausted from the torrential sea, yet refuses to give up because of enormous courage and his unwillingness to surrender. Odysseus must also cope with emotional challenges throughout his journey. His emotions are tested when he ventures to the underworld, Hades, and must confront his greatest fear, death: “From every side they came and sought the pit / with rustling cries; and I grew sick with fear. / But presently I gave command to my officers” (XI, 45 -47). Although Odysseus is deeply fearful when he comes face to face with the dead, his mental f...
The Greeks, as portrayed by Homer, are a very vengeful people. Throughout The Odyssey, a theme of vengeance is dominant. These displays of retribution come from different entities for fairly different reasons. So why is revenge such a factor in The Odyssey? Fear and the overwhelming feeling of payback are two answers. Homer gives numerous examples of how certain characters demonstrate their power in a fury of rage. He writes of the payback Zeus gives to those who break the rules, of Poseidon’s hatred towards Odysseus, and of Odysseus’s revenge to those who have dishonored his home.
Socrates, a Greek philosopher stated, "Look death in the face with joyful hope, and consider this a lasting truth: the righteous man has nothing to fear, neither in life, nor in death, and the Gods will not forsake him” (Socrates). This explains the basis for Greek beliefs that can be carried over to values and qualities of them. As in this, Homer, the author of The Odyssey, portrays many Greek values that make up a righteous man or as, Homer’s character Odysseus, an epic hero. The Odyssey is the story of King Odysseus' return from the Trojan War to his kingdom of Ithaca. Stories, like The Odyssey, are told with the intent of delivering a message that was important to their culture. Through characters and situations, The Odyssey promotes and emphasizes many important ancient Greek values such as hospitality, pride, and fate.
Homer’s The Odyssey chronicles Odysseus’s return home from the Trojan War to reunite with his wife, kingdom, and son. However, Odysseus has been encountering serious difficulties that have prevented him from reaching home for nearly twenty years. These difficulties include various different types of monsters, each of which seems to embody undesirable traits such as laziness or savagery. The Greeks portray creatures with these traits as monsters as an example of the Greeks’ “better” traits and subsequent superiority. Each species of monster within The Odyssey represents one or more qualities that the Greeks have demonized in comparison to themselves.
The Ancient Greeks sought to define how humans should view their lives and how to create an existence dedicated to the basis of the “ideal” nature. This existence would be lived so as to create an “honorable” death upon their life’s end. Within their plays, both dramas and comedies, they sought to show the most extreme characteristics of human nature, those of the wise and worthy of Greek kleos along with the weak and greedy of mind, and how they were each entitled to a death but of varying significance. The Odyssey, their greatest surviving drama, stands as the epitome of defining both the flawed and ideal human and how each individual should approach death and its rewards and cautions through their journeys. Death is shown to be the consequence
Returning to the quotation “… the great leveler, Death: not even the gods/ can defend a man, not even one they love, that day/ when fate takes hold and lays him out at last’” (Homer 3.269-271). Death is a power that surpasses the gods. In The Odyssey we are introduced to gods who control the water, the wind, and the decisions of men. They can bring peace and war, but the one thing they cannot do is prevent a mortal’s fated death. This alone shows how central death is to The Odyssey. The power that death holds rivals no others in this story, there is “… no escape from death” (Homer 12.483). Death is a constant threat for Odysseus throughout this story, and the future foretold for Odysseus by Tiresias is not one of his life being a good one but of “…your own death will steal upon you…/ a gentle, painless death, far from the sea it comes to take you down…” (Homer 11.153-154). His fortune ends not with his happy life, but with his eventual death. This scene is crucial because it draws the reader back not to the life that Odysseus will have once he has successfully returned home and killed the suitors but the death that he will experience. It draws it back to when and where Odysseus will die and take his place among the
The Greeks in the Odyssey viewed justice as only coming from the gods. They believed the gods punished them because they have fallen out of their favor, and not because they had really done anything wrong by human standards. As Socrates later stated in the Euthyphro, what is holy, and perhaps then just, is what is “approved by the gods.” Although Socrates proved this to be wrong, it still shows the view of most Greeks. Zeus in the opening book of the Odyssey stated, “Upon my word, just see how mortal men always put the blame on us gods! We are the source of evil, so they say- when they have only their own madness to thank if their miseries are worse than they ought to be.” This shows that the Greeks feared justice; they felt it was negative and often undeserved. However, each Greek deserved his punishment because he has a hand in its reason. For example, when Odysseus’s troops killed the cattle of Helios, they deserved Zeus destroying their ships because he had warned Odysseus beforehand not to let the men eat the cattle. When the Greeks disobeyed the gods, they disrupted the right order of things, and when the gods punished them, they made the other Greeks respect them once again, and thus fixed the balance of the world.
Homer’s epic, the Odyssey, is a heroic narrative that follows the adventures of Odysseus, the powerful King of Ithaca. The main story involves Odysseus’s return journey to his homeland after the Trojan War. However, Homer skips around in the action periodically to give the reader a better understanding and interest in what is going on in the epic. Homer takes his audience from the present action involving Telemakhos’ search for news of his father’s return, to the past where Odysseus tells the Phaiakians of his tragic journey home after the war. The events in Homer’s epic are not in order but still prove more effective at guiding the reader through the narrative. Although the events in the Odyssey are not in chronological order, the story line is enriched by Homer’s use of the in media res method because it introduces characters that were not involved in Odysseus’ adventure, because it shows the urgency of Odysseus’ return to his kingdom, and because it allows the reader to become more interested in the opening chapters without having to wait for a climax in the action.
Many diverse cultures are found in every corner of the world. Every culture is defined by its traditions and values. The film “The Odyssey,” depicts the culture of the ancient Greeks where it illustrates the life of a man, Odysseus, who has gone on a journey just to get back to his kingdom. Many values and traditions could be identified through the path of the journey. Some elements that are found important to the Greeks are the music, the religion, and the duty to the kingdom.