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 with him.
Odysseus possesses every attribute that Homeric Greeks admire. He displays loyalty, piety, manly valor and intelligence. We see Odysseus's loyalty in book one. Odysseus has won the Trojan War, and has been trapped on the island of Ogygia with the beautiful nymph Calypso. For ten years, Odysseus longed to return home to his wife Penelope, despite the attractions set up by Calypso. Never once did he accept his fate on the enchanting island. Odysseus' loyalty to Penelope is also at hand in the following:
Royal son of Laertes, Odysseus, man of exploits,
still eager to leave at once and hurry back
to your own home, your beloved native land?
Good luck to you, even so. Farewell!
But if you only knew, down deep, what pains
are fated to fill your cup before you reach that shore,
you'd stay right here, preside in our house with me
and be immortal. Much as you long to see your wife,
the one you pine for all your days ... POETRY VERSION (BOOK 4)
This quote states the...
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...estraint is also evident in the brutal attacks of Melanthius and Antinous. Melanthius kicking the lowly disguised Odysseus, and Antinous' blow to Odysseus with a stool. At first instinct one would fight back, especially with the strength and agility of Odysseus. Nevertheless Odysseus restrains and knows that a premature revealimg of his true identity would ruin the future plans in store for the total take over of his palace. So, just as any other beggar would react, the mighty Odysseus bows his head and walks back to the hut, with visions of the soon to be victory in his head.
Looking at Odysseus in whole, the strength intelligence, arrogance, and cunning restraint stand out above all creating a truly powerful and courageous leader.
Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fitzgerald. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1998.
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