The Odyssey

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English 9 Honors
The Odyssey
“The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it... I can resist everything but temptation,” Oscar Wilde once said. This quote explains Odysseus’ audacious personality completely. Temptation can be the beginning of a downward spiral in one’s life. In Odysseus’ case, temptation is his greatest enemy, along with his burning sense of curiosity. Odysseus’ first sign of curiosity during his voyage was when he had his encounter with the Cyclops, Polyphemus. “My men came pressing around me, pleading: take the cheeses, get them stowed, come back, throw open all the pens, and make a run for it? Ah, how sound that was! Yet I refused” (Homer II.166-169; 957-958). Odysseus’ men were ready to grab all of the Cyclopes possessions and make a run for it, but Odysseus’ curiosity got the best of him. By making that one decision to stay in the cave, two of his men got eaten alive that night. “One of the most prominent of the mental characteristics the ancient Greeks valued was the cleverness and the wit of an individual” (Greek). Although Odysseus’ temptation makes him weaker, his cleverness and wits help him overcome any situation he puts himself in. If Odysseus had listened to his men and left the cave when they asked him to, his encounter with the Cyclops could have gone much smoother. While Odysseus and his crew were sailing along the ocean, Odysseus heard a songlike noise out of the distance. It turns out that it was the sirens song. “This way, oh turn your bows, Achaea’s glory as all the world allows moor and be merry. Sweet coupled airs we sing. No lonely seafarer holds clear of entering our green mirror” (Homer II. 719-726; 977). Once Odysseus realized what was at stake, he immediately took action. “Going forward I carried wax along the line, and laid it thick on their ears. They tied me up, then plumb amidships, back to the mast, lashed to the mast, and took themselves again to rowing” (Homer II. 711-715; 977). Although Odysseus...
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