“Odysseus is motivated only by his desire to return home (nostos).” How far do you agree with this view? In your answer you should: * Consider how Odysseus behaves on his journey home;
* Include an analysis of his motives;
* Support your answer with evidence from The Odyssey.
On his journey home, Odysseus encounters many obstacles which he attempts to overcome swiftly so that he may arrive home as soon as possible; however, it can be argued that nostos is not his only motive throughout his journey, though it may be the most significant. In Book 5, Homer presents Odysseus for the first time, and we find him weeping for his “lost home” and discover that he has been doing so for the past seven years every day. This shows how much he longs for his nostos and that this is his main aim in life. However, despite his apparent pain and homesickness, he has not yet attempted to leave the island, nor does he hate Calypso for keeping him here, as he sleeps with her every night and shows no aversion to eating and talking with her. Of course, if he did try to escape he would die immediately, so his motive for not doing so is self-preservation rather than nostos; on the other hand, if he died he would never achieve his nostos, so perhaps his sole motive is nostos. Furthermore, he declines Calypso’s offer of immortality as he claims his “never-failing wish” is to achieve his nostos. In Book 9, Odysseus tells the Phaeacians that he and his men raided Ismarus when they left Troy. Odysseus’ motive for this could either be a desire for booty (in which case he wants kleos rather than nostos) or a desire for supplies (in which case he does want to achieve nostos, and so is preparing himself for the journey). Also, he is anxious to leave Ismarus as soon as possible which shows a desire for nostos; however, he allows his men to overrule this decision, which either shows that his motive is to please his men, or that his desire for nostos is not very strong at this point....
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