Odysseus ' Identity And Its Progression Throughout The Book ' The Odyssey '

Odysseus ' Identity And Its Progression Throughout The Book ' The Odyssey '

Length: 1076 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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 of twelve ships set sail for Ithaca, they became susceptible to the vagaries of life and must rely on the “winds of chance”-that is, they are no longer in control. This is when Homer’s “stripping down” of Odysseus begins. To start off his journey, he loses seventy-two of his men to the fierce horse-backed Ciconians. Narrowly escaping, they sailed to the Island of the Lotus Eaters. The Lotus Eaters were a people completely ensnared by the power of the lotus flowers that grew on the island, because anyone who ate them was instantly dependent upon them. The flowers represent the power of addiction and illustrate just how difficult it is to break it. After forcibly tying up the men that ate of the flowers, they sailed on. The next challenge Odysseus was faced with was the cave of the Cyclops, Polyphemus the son of Poseidon. It was in the attempt to escape the Cyclops that Odysseus succumbs to his excessive arrogance, or hubris, and taunts the blind Polyphemus. After revealing his true name to the...

... middle of paper ...

...he 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 society.
Odysseus’ return journey was an odyssey of hardship and trial, which he overcame through perseverance and his quick-witted thinking and left him a changed man by the end. He is a symbol of “every man”, that is a victim of the common hardships of life, but he also stands out from the crowd as a favorite of the gods. Penelope and Telemachus also grow and develop throughout the tale, though the Suitors do not. The Odyssey is a tale of self-discovery, characterized through Odysseus’ journey.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Odyssey, By Odysseus And Odysseus Essay

- Topic #5 Ancient Greeks practiced their religion very seriously and ultimately being accepted by a Greek god or goddess was crucial to a Greek mortals life. In Homer’s The Odyssey, the different relationships between Poseidon and Odysseus, Odysseus and Athena and Telemachus and Athena affect whether or not Odysseus’ will fulfill his nostos – his homecoming. When in trouble or doubt, one prays to a higher being. In Ancient Greece, when mortals were in need of answers, clarification or guidance they would pray to the appropriate Greek god or goddess....   [tags: Odyssey, Greek mythology, Odysseus, Trojan War]

Better Essays
1645 words (4.7 pages)

Odysseus By Homer 's The Odyssey Essays

- In Homer’s The Odyssey, the main protagonist, Odysseus, is trying to make his way home to Ithaca, ten years later, after the end of the Trojan War. Odysseus is portrayed as a hero throughout the epic; however, the events surrounding his heroism is with considerable help from the gods and goddess. Being a hero is defined as a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. Based on the play, there is evidence to suggest that Odysseus is not a hero as defined but that he relied on the help of the gods and goddess....   [tags: Odyssey, Odysseus, Trojan War, Greek mythology]

Better Essays
835 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on Odysseus, The Maestro Man

- Odysseus, The Maestro Man Throughout the epic poem of The Odyssey readers are exposed to the man that captures the interest of many, Odysseus. Odysseus is portrayed as a ‘godlike’ man as well being deemed a warrior of his own class, beyond all men in mind and in comparison, the Hugh Heffner of his time. He is everything men aspire to be in many ways as well as being profoundly in touch with his emotions when it comes to women. Odysseus shows this in many different ways from tears for his wife Penelope to the heartbreak for his long-dead mother, Antikleia....   [tags: Odyssey, Odysseus, Greek mythology, Hermes]

Better Essays
1040 words (3 pages)

Odysseus : A Heroic Hero Essay

- Odysseus was the most prominent hero of the Greeks who fought in the Trojan War. Some of the qualities of a hero usually include: courage, bravery, dedication, sacrifice, intelligence, and perseverance. Odysseus had all the qualities of a hero throughout his journey. In the Odyssey written by Homer, the text suggests that the main character, Odysseus maintains his identity despite the experiences he faces throughout his journey towards home. Odysseus had a heroic identity before he was separated from his family and the people of Ithaca, and throughout his journey he continues to keep his past heroic identity....   [tags: Odyssey, Odysseus, Trojan War, Trojan Horse]

Better Essays
1014 words (2.9 pages)

Odysseus ' Character Development : Homer 's Odyssey Essay

- Odysseus’ Character Development Homer’s literature served as a moral messenger to the people of ancient Greece. The Odyssey by Homer demonstrates the character development of Odysseus, the epic hero, and his journey of self-discovery. Odysseus was a great, wise, noble, and well respected war hero to his people. Odysseus had one tragic flaw that was demonstrated by his actions throughout the book. The author Homer continued to strip Odysseus of his arrogance throughout the story, by throwing challenges his way, making him pay for his mistakes, and allowing him to continue to overcome obstacles....   [tags: Odyssey, Odysseus, Homer, Hero]

Better Essays
1200 words (3.4 pages)

Is Odysseus a Hero? Essay

- Throughout the epic, Odysseus is portrayed by his friends and peers as a magnificent man, a godlike figure. But, throughout the journeys of The Odyssey, Odysseus’ true character shows. Heroes are no exception to human nature; all people tend to act differently in public than in private. A commonly accepted definition of a hero is, “a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.” Odysseus has not shown the noble characteristics of a hero by acting cowardly, barbaric, selfish and greedy in certain situations; such qualities do not deserve such a title....   [tags: Homer, Odyssey Essays]

Better Essays
1597 words (4.6 pages)

Odysseus: The Antihero Essay

- Odysseus: The Antihero Often through great literature, there is an epic hero. In the Odyssey, Homer tells the journey of one man’s journey home from the Trojan War. The protagonist of the epic poem Odysseus is often regarded as a great hero. However, Odysseus is not quite the glorious soldier that people often see him as. Odysseus disproves his title of a hero through his pride, his disloyalty, and his bloodthirstiness. Odysseus’s hubris leads him into many troubles and contrasts with all of the heroic deeds he is known for....   [tags: Character Analysis]

Better Essays
673 words (1.9 pages)

Essay on Analysis Of The Book ' Telemakhos 's Journey '

- The story of Telémakhos’s journey, in many ways a smaller parallel to his father’s lengthier and more taxing journey, begins nearing the end of Odysseus’s. Thorough examination of any one episode in Telémakhos’s journey could provide insight to this relationship and the importance of each of the journeys detailed by the text. One such episode, found in Book IV, details Telémakhos’s visit to the home of Meneláos and Helen. As a story of the (really, really) long journey to return home, The Odyssey capitalizes the importance of hospitality....   [tags: Odyssey, Athena, Odysseus, Helen]

Better Essays
1239 words (3.5 pages)

Odysseus' Selfishness Essay

- Odysseus portrays himself as anything but a hero throughout Homer’s The Odyssey. Odysseus goes through his life believing he is the best. He has no regard for anyone’s feelings but his own, and he believes nothing and no one can harm him, not even the gods. Odysseus feels he is always the leader and no one can tell him otherwise. Odysseus should not be considered a hero because he portrays himself as a selfish man that failed his crew, and is controlled by his hubris. Odysseus portrays his selfishness right as the book begins and this shows how truly incompetent of an individual he is....   [tags: Character Analysis]

Better Essays
914 words (2.6 pages)

The Character of Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey Essay

- The Character of Odysseus in The Odyssey Homer's epic tale The Odyssey is a story of the triumphs and downfalls that are in store for one warrior's long pillage home.  Odysseus, the hero from the Trojan wars, has led his people of Ithaca and other Achaean soldiers to victory and now wishes to return home to his wife and family of Ithaca.  Through his twenty year journey Odysseus is often tested not only of his physical strength, but his wits as well.  The many accomplishments he achieved earned him great status and recognition throughout ancient Greece.  The mistakes he made caused the deaths of many men.  Consequently, we as readers are able to see the many personas that Odysseus carries...   [tags: Odyssey essays]

Better Essays
1391 words (4 pages)