Characterization: Book 8 of the Odyssey

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So far in the Odyssey, men have played the role of strong and determined characters. In most cases, they try to show the courageous side of their personality. For example, young Telemakhos boldly decided to leave Ithaka and search for news of his father, knowing the dangers that were in store for him. Odysseus, obviously, showed great determination as he battled the God of Sea Poseidon after he left Kalypso¡¯s island. All of this leads us to believe that men in Ancient Greek are supposed to conceal their feelings and be tough. Yet in book eight, we see Odysseus break down and cry during Demodokos¡¯ songs. Some people might take this as a sign of weakness on Odysseus¡¯ part. But I think it just shows that Odysseus is only human. He has many roles in this book. Not only do we see him moved to tears, but we also see him make mistakes, get into tricky situations, and lose his temper.
That brings us to the topic of Seareach. Now Seareach is just a very arrogant young man who is totally oblivious of Odysseus¡¯s status back home. As you just saw in the play, as soon as Seareach saw a ¡°weakness¡±, he immediately went up to Odysseus and called him ¡°the skipper of some tramp that crawled from one port to the next, a tallier of cargoes, itching for gold¡±. For Odysseus, this was absolutely ridiculous. Here¡¯s some young inexperienced Phaikian who came to the conclusion that he was of low birth because he never learned a sport. Odysseus loses his temper at this point and calls Seareach ¡°a man of fine physique, with an empty noddle¡±. He then goes on to prove his athletic abilities by tossing the discus further than anyone else. Homer taught us a great lesson in this incident, and that is not to judge people by their looks. Odysseus even said it himself that ¡°in looks, a man be a shade, a specter, and yet be master of speech so crowned with beauty that people gaze at him with pleasure¡±. This is a foreshadow relating to later in the book where the...
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