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Lessons in the Odyssey

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Lessons in the Odyssey

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  • Jan. 2006
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The Odyssey

The Odyssey, by Homer, has many lessons that are learned by Odysseus and his crew. Odysseus and his crew are on their journey home. Three of those lessons were to not taunt people, to follow directions, and to trust people.

The first lesson was to not taunt people. After Odysseus and his crew had escaped from the Cyclops, Odysseus decided to tease him. Odysseus had told Cyclops who it was that took his eye. Along with giving the blinded, one-eyed monster his name, Odysseus told him his home was on Ithaca. With this information, Cyclops prayed to Poseidon, the god of the sea. Cyclops prayed for Odysseus to lose all his companions and return to bitter days at home.

Another lesson was to listen to what you were told to do. When they landed on Thrinakia, Odysseus made his crew swear not to touch Helios' cattle. Odysseus, alone, knew the what the result of touching the cattle would be. His crew did not listen. The crew used the cattle as a sacrifice to the gods. As a result, Helios prayed for the gods to punish Odysseus' men. They were punished by death when a thunderbolt from Zeus destroyed their boat. All of the men drowned except for Odysseus.

A third lesson was to trust people. Once returning home to Ithaca, Odysseus had doubts of people's loyalty to him. Even though Odysseus was gone for twenty years, people still remained loyal to him. His servant, Eumaeus, had remained a faithful servant while Odysseus was away. Odysseus' wife, Penelope, despite having many suitors, remained faithful to her husband.

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