In Homer’s epic, The Odyssey, various aspects of the ancient Greeks are revealed through the actions, characters, plot, and wording. Homer uses his skill as a playwright, poet, and philosopher to inform the audience of the history, prides, and achievements of the ancient Greeks, and, also, to tell of the many values and the multi-faceted culture of the ancient Greek caste. The Greeks had numerous values and customs, of which the primary principles are the mental characteristics of an individual, the physical characteristics of an individual, the recreations and pastimes the Greeks enjoyed, the way in which a host treats a guest, the religious aspects, and finally, the Greeks’ view on life, revealed in The Odyssey which shows and defines their culture
One of the most prominent of the mental characteristics the ancient Greeks valued was the cleverness and the wit of an individual. This can be discerned from The Odyssey because of many instances and events in which Odysseus uses his brain’s wit and other tricks to get himself out of a risky situation. Examples of this are when he tells Polyphemos the Cyclopes that his name is Nobody, when he overcomes Circe’s magic with the help of moly, when he fills his men’s ears with wax and ties himself to a post so that he and his men can get by the Sirens safely, and when he disguises himself as a beggar and reveals his true identity to few. Odysseus is by “far the best of mortal men for counsel and stories” (Bk. XIII, 297 – 298). Also, Odysseus is said to be able to match a god in wits and trickery (Bk. XIII, 291 – 295). Penelope, Odysseus’ wife also uses her wit and trickery to get herself out of situations. An example of this is when she pretends to be weaving a shroud for Laertes, but actually undoes at night as much as she had done in the morning. Athene, the goddess of wisdom, provides another example of the usage of wit and tricks. Athene disguises...
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