What is the Determining Factor in Success or Failure while Facing Adversity?

What is the Determining Factor in Success or Failure while Facing Adversity?

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The question of what is the determining factor in success or failure while facing adversity, is one that has been addressed in many works of art. In Homer’s The Odyssey, there are two passages where Odysseus and his crew show the difference between a hero and villain. For instance, when they defeat the Cicones and, despite Odysseus telling them to leave quickly, stay behind and choose to be “mutinous fools” due to there being “too much wine to swill, too many sheep to slaughter down along the beach” (Homer 9.51-53), Odysseus’ crew shows their greed and ends up being attacked by the other Cicones. In another passage, Odysseus, his son, and two of their servants take on an entire house full of violent young suitors and slaughter all but two of them; afterwards, standing caked in blood, Odysseus is spotted by his old nurse and tells her that “‘These men the doom of the gods has brought low…And so, thanks to their reckless work, they met this shameful fate’” (Homer 22.433-445). What lead Odysseus to victory against such insurmountable odds while his crew crawled away with their collective tails between their legs after being attacked by an already beaten people?
The essence of that question is one that is not unique to any culture or era. People have been coming up with stories about heroes and villains and struggles since people began coming up with stories. Heroes have a special place in the heart of many cultures; the Chinese had Shennong, the Egyptians had Ramesses II, the English had King Arthur, the Greeks had Odysseus, the Japanese had Okuninushi, the Navajos had Changing Woman, the Norse had Starkad, the Romans had Hercules, and so on and so forth. Villains, similarly, play roles in the stories and myths passed down from gen...


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...Company, 1998. Web. Hitler. Web. 14 January 2014.
Montefiore, Simon S. "Before the Terror." The Guardian. Guardian News, 18 May 2007. Web. 12 Jan. 2014. .
Singer, Michelle. "Letters Reveal Mother Teresa's Secret." CBS News. CBS Interactive Inc., 23 Aug. 2007. Web. 12 Jan. 2014. .
Stallman, Richard. Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman. Boston, MA: Free Software Foundation, 2002. GNU Press. Web. 12 Jan. 2014. .
The Emperor’s New Groove. Dir. Mark Dindal. Perf. David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt, and Patrick Warburton. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, 2000. Film.

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