The Odyssey Academic Essay, 1500 Word Approx. Essay, Research Paper
The Epic poem “The Odyssey” written in 720 BC by Homer involves the story of a war hero, Odysseus, who is sentenced to twenty years of tribulation after the bloody war of Troy before returning home to his wife Penelope and son Telemachus. The reason he faced the tribulation was for offending one of the gods, Poseidon, the god of the sea. As Odysseus was on his twenty year journey he learnt a lot about Himself. Also, his wife and son had the involuntary opportunity to do much self exploration. With no one to protect the rules of the house of Odysseus there were many people abusing the Greek customs of treating guests to the house as kings. Some of the guests took the liberty of staying for many years sucking all the riches that Odysseus had earned in his life. This forced Odysseus’ family to learn much about themselves and how they react in hostile situations. As well as Odysseus had the chance to see how foolish he really was during his twenty years of tribulation. “The Odyssey” is a story of self discovery.
Penelope had the opportunity to discover much about her self throughout the story. During the time that Odysseus was away at war she had much time to face many hardships that she probably would have not encountered had her husband not left. Penelope discovered that she would have to be very patient and brave if she was to survive the many years that Odysseus was missing. Especially because the only remaining man of the house, her young son Telemachus was about to leave to attempt to find his father who had been missing his whole life. For the first while that her beloved son was away she hadn’t even noticed that he was missing, but after a while she became aware and after a bit of crying and being depressed she realized that she would just have to be patient and hope that her son would return. Penelope also discovers that she is very caring and people care a lot about her. This is evident when Telemachus says “Now promise on your oath (Euryclia, the oldest and wisest maid) not to say a thing to mother for 10 or 12 days or you’ll have her crying and spoiling her pretty skin.” (Homer 30) later on after she had realized that Telemachus had left, she wondered why he had not told her and then Euryclia informed her that Telemachus did not want her to know because she would be sad. Another one of Penelope traits that became evident during the story was that she was very faithful to Odysseus. Although she wanted to continue on with her life and get married she would not do so until she was sure that her husband was dead. “There she was all day long, working away at the great web but at night she would unravel it by torch light.”(24) This describes the dedication to Odysseus that Penelope had, she dedicated four years of hard work just to avoid the suitors from convincing her to marry them. As before she started to weave the web she had said that when it was finished she would pick a new mate. Penelope’s journey throughout “The Odyssey” made her realize how much Odysseus really meant to her, and how much she needed him back.
Telemachus matured all throughout “The Odyssey” and learnt much about himself. One of the most important things that he learnt was to respect his older and wiser father. “Then he (Odysseus) signaled a nod to Telemachus, Telemachus slung on his sharp sword and grasped his spear (Ready to kill the suitors that had plagued him for so long).”(242) Telemachus had found that it was much better to listen to his fathers advice as he was much more experienced in these matters. Although Telemachus thought he was fairly mature he soon realized that he was still a cocky arrogant adolescent in comparison to his father. “Three times he moved the upper end forward as he strove to string the bow, three times he gave up. Odysseus made him a sign and he desisted.” (236) Telemachus is being latently arrogant to the suitors. He knows that the suitors fate awaits them in the near future but says that if he can string the bow he wouldn’t mind if another man takes his mother and all his father’s fortune’s. This act is just to show off, he realizes that he is being a fool after his father gives him a signal and he desists. Telemachus found that he had a lot of determination to find his lost father. When he says this to the suitors “I beg you to lend me a swift ship and twenty man to carry me to sandy Pylos and Sparta to find out about my father and why he is so long away.” (27) He is so determined to find his father that he begs from the men he hates so much for a ship and some men to find his lost father. Because Telemachus started off the story from an immature boy he learnt much about becoming a man throughout “The Odyssey.” He learns that he loves and respects his father and would do anything to meet him, he also discovers that although he think h is fairly mature he still has a long way to go before he is as wise as his father.
“The Odyssey” revolves around Odysseus and the things that he learns about him self in his quest to return home. Odysseus is very much determined to return home to his family. On Calypso’s island, when Calypso says “If you knew what troubles you will have before you return to Ithaca you would stay here with me and remain immortal.”(66) to this Odysseus replied ” I long for the day of my home coming. And if some god wrecks me again on the deep, I will endure it for I have a patient mind. I have suffered many troubles and hardships in battle this will only be one more.”(66) Odysseus had the choice to stay on ogyia and remain immortal with a beautiful goddess, but rather chose to go home to his wife and family in Ithaca. Proves that Odysseus had a very determined mind set and realized that he must return home to see his family no matter what the cost. In the first few years of his trials he found that he was quite foolish. Odysseus had just escaped death from the Cyclops using his wits he was pulling away from the shore, the Cyclops having no idea who had blinded him and Odysseus said “I say Cyclops if any one ever asks you who put out your ugly eye, tell him that you blinder was Odysseus, The conquer of troy, the son of Laertes, whose address is in Ithaca.”(110) he could have avoided many years of hell if he had only thought about what he was going to say to the Cyclops before he opened his arrogant, foolish mouth. As soon as the Cyclops knew who his blinder was he prayed to his father Poseidon to punish Odysseus and was herd, Odysseus was to face many more years of hell because of this asinine comment. Odysseus could never ignore his prominent trait of curiosity he just had to hear the sires sing their lovely song to him. He says this to his men “I alone must hear them, you are to bind me with strong ropes and fasten me upright against the mast.”(141) Knowing that he might get himself and his men killed in the process he demanded to be tied to the ships mast to hear the beautiful song of the sirens. “The Odyssey” was based around the things the Odysseus discovered about himself and the world around him in order to get home to his family.
“The Odyssey” is a story of self discovery. Odysseus discovered that he, although a great war hero, knew very little about the way that the world works. Telemachus discovered that he was very immature, and that he greatly respected his father and the knowledge that he had accumulated over the many years that he wandered the world. Penelope realized that she was very helpless without he beloved Odysseus by her side and that he wanted him back more than ever. “The Odyssey” is a great story written about life and the world around us. It has fared the test of time as a great book because it involves themes that are present in everyday life. Themes like love, compassion and hatred are all prominent in “The Odyssey” and are also experienced throughout life, which is why “The Odyssey” is such a excellent book to read.