Of all the events in Homer’s Odyssey (Dover 1999), the most significant event is the manner in which Odysseus carries out his retribution of the maids and suitors. Odysseus disguises himself and lies to everyone he cares about to see who is loyal to him and who is not. He tests the qualities of others, all the while showing none of them himself. His untrustworthy behavior makes him hypocritical when it comes to proving others loyalty. Odysseus is not justified in his retribution of the maids and the suitors because of his ignobility.
Odysseus is not justified in his slaughter of the suitors and the maids because of his self-serving nature. Odysseus cares for himself more than anyone else. He believes he deserves the best, and deserves to do whatever he pleases. While on the journey at sea, Odysseus and his men are to pass the Sirens, Scylla, Charybidis, and the kine of the Sun. When they first pass the Sirens, Odysseus tells his men “only [himself] she bade to hear their song” (117). Odysseus acts very duplicitous when he makes sure everyone’s ears are stopped, while he gets to listen safely to the music, showing he cares more for his own pleasure than others around him. Also when the men are to dock on the island with the kine of the Sun, Odysseus only warns them once not to eat the kine. Once he finishes with his little warning, he prays “the gods to show [his] homeward way” (120), suggesting that even if all his friends die at least he will survive. Odysseus allows himself certain pleasures and advantages that he will not allow others to enjoy, These selfish acts show his lack of equanimity when making the important decisions a leader needs to make. Not only is Odysseus not justified in his slaughter of the suitors and maids because of his self-serving nature, but also because of his lack of indifference, or inability to make a descision. Odysseus uses fate and free will to his convenience. The gods use their powers to lead the fate of...
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