The Morality Of Odysseus

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As Horace Mann once stated, “Even the choicest literature should be taken as the condiment, and not as the sustenance of life. It should be neither the warp nor the woof of existence, but only the flowery edging upon its borders.” The Odyssey, one of the best known and most stupendous of ancient literature, should also be regarded as the flowery edging to society and existence. Even though Odysseus contains qualities such as bravery and perseverance, he abides to a different moral standards as modern society. His actions of lies and deceits, the ruthless killing of other human beings, and the sexual relationships he has with women other than his wife all defies the contemporary moral standards; those beliefs Odysseus embrace will not solve…show more content…
Odysseus earned his fame and won the Trojan War through an act of deception as Helen stated, “So changed, he looked as never before upon the Akhaian beachhead, but like a beggar, merged in the townspeople; and no one there remarked him(4:265-268).” Furthermore, she complimented his cleverness as she said, “How shrewdly he put me off!” Therefore, Odysseus’s ability to lie contributed to his reputation as a mighty hero. In addition, Odysseus saves himself numerous time through lies and deceits. For example, Odysseus was able to save himself from Kyklops by lying about his true identity as he states, “My name is nobody; mother, father, and friends, everyone calls me Nohbdy(9:366-367).” Yet, when Odysseus reveals his true identity and stops deceiving, he brings danger to himself and his companions as Klyklops curses, “Should destiny intend that he shall see his roof again among his family in his father land, far be that day, and dark the years between. Let him lose all companions, and return under strange sail to bitter days at home(9:580-585).” Thus, in the ancient world, deception is acceptable to the ancient society. However, in the contemporary world, honesty holds as an important virtue as the quote states,“honesty is the best policy.” Therefore, Odysseus may look with objection upon modern society. He would have trouble understanding reasons of why people would choose to tell the truth when lies will bring…show more content…
For instance, Odysseus ,when trapped by the beautiful nymph Kalypso, “lay with her each night, for she compelled him(5:163).” Therefore, even though Odysseus remains loyal to Penelope in his heart, he had numerous sexual relationships with other women. Another instance of this is Odysseus’s agreement with Kirke as he states, “Or sear me first a great oath, if I do, you’ll work no more enchantment to my harm(10:387-388).” Thus, Kirke agreed and Odysseus “entered Kirke’s flawless bed of love(10:390).” Odysseus’ actions are not acceptable in the modern society. In fact, it is considered immoral to have intimate physical contact with other woman during marriage. Although the definition of marriage may differ in various cultures, the man and woman in the marriage should be the only and sole partners of each other in modern society. Therefore, people should not look up to Odysseus as a guideline or example. The different cultures and different time periods result in different characteristics that people cherish. Devotion in marriage, currently, is one of the characteristics that people admired and value. Odysseus may have trouble understanding this concept since he lived in a different time period or, more exact, a different world than us. He may feel like he is still loyal and devoted to his wife,

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