Essay on Loyalty as Defined in the Odyssey

Essay on Loyalty as Defined in the Odyssey

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Loyalty, as defined in the Odyssey seems to be the constant devotion to someone, the hopefully longing of their return and victory. Homer seems to value loyalty over many of the other human traits, as Eumaeus gets not only Homer’s famous “you” but his own book as well. The swineherd is not the only character that Homer uses to show loyalty, Penelope and Telemachus show unyielding faithfulness to Odysseus throughout the epic poem; as do many other characters even gods. Homer demonstrates the value he places on loyalty through the use of these characters with their devotion to Odysseus. Through the use of these characters Homer shows the value of loyalty by their loyalty to Odysseus.
Telemachus shows unwavering devotion to a man he does not even know, simply because that man is his father. Showing not only unyielding loyalty but respect for a man whose stories he has only heard. In fact when Telemachus first meets Odysseus, after being convinced it really is his father, he immediately agrees to help the man take revenge, doing everything as his father orders as if he had known the man all his life. (pg. 346; 270-288) Thus showing extreme amounts of devotion to his father, never wavering even when, they are outnumbered by the suitors. Interestingly enough not only does Telemachus show unwavering loyalty to his father, but he constantly tries to prove himself to Odysseus. “Telemachus reassured him, / “Now you’ll see, if you care to watch, father, / now I’m fired up. Disgrace, you say? / I won’t disgrace your line!” ” (pg. 484; 564 – 567) Not only does this show that Telemachus is loyal to Odysseus and his sire’s line, but that Telemachus also wishes to serve his father and never give him cause to be ashamed.
Penelope is most l...


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When tested to see his true character Eumeaus passes, and goes out to watch over the boars instead of sleeping inside with the rest of the hands. Further proving how much he cares for his master’s possessions, and by extend his master himself. Even he admits that he could have gone off by himself with the Odysseus gone, but stayed to watch of his master’s lands and property until the man returned.
Of all the heroic traits such as honor and glory, given to the reader through Homer’s epic poems loyalty seems to be the strongest, as with Patroclus in the Iliad, so it is with Penelope, Telemachus, and Eumaeus in the Odyssey. Through the use of these characters loyalty is demonstrated to Odysseus, the hero if the poem. Their undying loyalty and devotion to the warring hero gives perfect examples of how humans should act to those they claim to be faithful too.

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