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The Importance Of Death In The Odyssey

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Death, humanity’s worst fear. Humans do everything they can to avoid it, yet it is inevitable. If one believes, as the Ancient Greeks did, that there is some sort of life after death that can be reached by the living, then one would be able to theoretically speak to one’s dead acquaintances. Most people believe that one grows wiser as one grows older; however one can wonder whether the dead are wiser than even the oldest of the living. Death, death occurs to many men in the Odyssey, but one can wonder at the amount of death in this epic poem. Epic poems were supposed to teach listeners on how to be good Greek citizens and they were supposed to teach life lessons, similar to fables in today’s time. This leads one to question why Homer, the author,…show more content…
He describes Akhilleus as the “strongest of all among the Akhaians” (200, 11.563-564). Odysseus is referring to when Akilleus was alive. When one thinks of someone who is very strong one usually associates being strong with being arrogant and foolish. This is because in today’s media, the people who are strong are typically made to act full of themselves and unintelligent. The media has imprinted this into the people’s minds. Odysseus also dubs him to be “blessed by fortune” (201, 11.569). This makes Akhilleus seem unintelligent. Continuing from the reasoning earlier in the paragraph, in the media, those who are lucky tend to be portrayed as simple-minded. They are lucky because they did not think of the consequences but somehow the ending ends in their favor. Also, lucky makes one think of the person not doing anything, but having good things happen to them, though they do not deserve it. Akhilleus is also portrayed as arrogant because Odysseus tells Akhilleus that they, “ranked…[him] with the immortals in… [his] lifetime” (201, 11.571). The Greek gods are the immortals, all the people respect and fear them, if one were to not obey them, one would be tortured and die. This makes the gods appear to be arrogant because they think their word is law. Leading one to understand that when Akhilleus was…show more content…
This helps one see how death has changed Akhilleus in a variety of ways. Akhilleus says he does not want to hear any “smooth talk of death” (201, 11.577-578) from Odysseus. This implies that Akhilleus understands more about what death really means than Odysseus does. The way in which he speaks to Odysseus, makes Akhilleus seem to almost put Odysseus in his place, it subtly tells Odysseus that he does not know of what he is speaking of. This makes Akhilleus seem wise, which is almost the opposite of how he is portrayed as foolish in the first stanza. Akhilleus also tells Odysseus that it is “better..to break sod as a farm hand for some poor country man...than to lord over...the...dead” (201, 11.579-581). After death Akhilleus now understands the value of life, any situation of life. He is wise because he has learned and understands life in a way that a person who is still alive, like Odysseus, could never. During the second stanza Akhilleus also looks back on what he did in his life and recounts during his fighting during the battles of Troy how he “put an army’s best men in the dust” (201, 11.592). He is shown to be not only wise but also regretful, which you can only be if you are able to look back and understand the fault of your
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