Odysseus Character Essay Research Paper The Odyssey

Odysseus Character Essay, Research Paper The Odyssey is an epic poem, which revolves around Odysseus and his journey home from the war at Troy. Throughout his travels he is met with many obstacles and

Odysseus Character Essay, Research Paper

The Odyssey is an epic poem, which revolves around Odysseus and his journey home

from the war at Troy. Throughout his travels he is met with many obstacles and

adventures. There are times when he thinks he will never make it home. But

through perseverance, faith, maturation and heroics, he manages to survive and

reach his homeland of Ithaca as a changed man. In The Odyssey, Odysseus, the

main character must journey from Troy to his homeland of Ithaca. Throughout this

journey he learns many lessons, faces obstacles testing his physical and mental

strength and grows from an arrogant, self-centered hero into a humble,

respectful survivor. With the help of the Gods he is finally able to return to

Ithaca as an honorable man. In Book VI of the Odyssey, Odysseus wakes on the

shore of Phaecia. The Goddess Athena has sent the beautiful Nausicaa a dream

instructing her to wash clothes in preparation for an upcoming marriage. Athena

makes Nausicaa brave and Odysseus handsome bringing them together in order to

assist Odysseus to the house of the king. In this particular book the Gods

assist Odysseus and he manages to come closer to getting home. Athena helps him

out over and over again in Book VI. Everything seems to be done to help Odysseus

and so he is lucky to have the Gods behind him. ?but the grey-eyed Goddess

Athena made her tarry, so Odysseus might behold her beauty and win her guidance

to the town? (175). Here Odysseus is actually being led where he needs to go

by Athena indirectly. All the places with lush greenery and the resting-place of

Odysseus has even been made by Athena. ?The sun was going down when they went

by Athena?s grove? (181). The manipulation by the Gods appears to lead t a

common goal, the survival of Odysseus and the assistance of getting him home.

The gods may not be able to stop fate but they help Odysseus learn to use their

guidance to his advantage for his survival. In Book VIII, King Alkinoos calls an

assembly asking the Phaeacians to help Odysseus. During this meeting there is

competition to entertain Odysseus. After being insulted by one of the Phaeacians,

??The reason being, as I see it, friend, you never learned a sport, and have

no skill in any of the contests of fighting men? (185). With that, Odysseus

throws a discus farther than anyone ever has. ?Anyone else for an edge for

competition try me now? (186) This proves Odysseus has a problem with his

pride. Although this pride does help him throughout his journey, he uses it here

as a vice to show others his greatness. His arrogance really shows through here.

By insulting his abilities, Phaeacians insulted his manhood and he defended it

to the highest degree. In Book IX, Odysseus encounters the Kyklops and uses his

cunningness and bravery to escape. Here we see a new side of Odysseus. First he

vividly narrates his love for his home in this book. ?I shall not see on earth

a place more dear? (198). ?Where shall a man find sweetness to surpass his

own home and his parents (198)? Odysseus seems able to survive by using all his

energy to find his way home. He uses this energy in his plot to get away from

the Kyklops. His plan is both brave and ingenious. He tells the Kyklops his name

is Nohbdy. Then after being blinded, Odysseus and his men are able to escape.

The Kyklops yells to his friends, ?Nohbdy, Nohbdy tricked me, Nohbdy?s

ruined me? (207)! With this, he gets no help and Odysseus is free. However

again his pride gets the best of him for as they are escaping he yells, ?If

ever a mortal man inquire how you were put to shame and blinded, tell them

Odysseus, raider of cities, took your eye? (210). This again proves to hurt

Odysseus and makes his journey more difficult. His foolishness proves to be a

thorn in his side throughout The Odyssey. By revealing his name he sets himself

up for the angry God Poseidon. In Book X, foolishness again causes Odysseus

trouble. As his Odyssey seems almost over and the men are close to Ithaca, a

sack of wind given to Odysseus by Aeolus is unleashed. This blows their ship all

the way back to where they started. Odysseus then ends up with Kirke, daughter

of the Sun. Kirke turns all the crewmates into pigs and lures Odysseus into her

bed. Odysseus ?s vice here seems to be his manhood as he ends up sleeping with

Kirke for one year until she promises to help him get home. ?O Kirke now you

must keep your promise, it is time. Help me make sail for home? (224). Kirke

tells Odysseus the path to take home and so he is off for another adventure,

surviving with the mere thought of eventually returning to his distant home.

?Homeward you think we must be sailing to our own land; no, elsewhere is the

voyage Kirke has laid upon? (227). Odysseus seems to be learning from his

mistakes. His virtue is to understand his destiny, fulfill it and eventually get

where he needs to be. He learns that boasting can bring people against him as

was seen with the Kyklops. He is also using his ability to accept help from the

Gods to his advantage. In Book XI, Odysseus sails to the edge of the world and

he eventually encounters the blind sear who warns him about the dangers for his

journey home. ? But anguish lies ahead; the God who thunders on the land

prepares it, not to be shaken from the track, implacable, in rancor for the son

whose eye you blinded? (230). He then visits with the dearly departed who

cause him to flee to his ship in anguish only with greater hopes of returning

home. ?I whirled then, made for the ship? (246). Odysseus uses his vices and

virtues a survivor to overcome his obstacles and to make it home. On his

Odyssey, he receives help from the Gods but they also at times hinder his

progress. His arrogance at times works against him and his manhood almost

destroys his chances of seeing his homeland but through strength and the wisdom

of experience, he manages to make it. He must learn from these vices and virtues

and for this he is able to survive the journey.