The Odyssey: Thesis Paper on Men's Lust for Power

Topics: Odysseus, Odyssey, Circe Pages: 5 (1936 words) Published: September 17, 2010
In Homer’s mythological epic: The Odessey the reader follows what is thought to be a story of a courageous soldier and his battle hardened crew fresh from their victory at the stronghold of Troy. Yet a dark shadow of greed and lust for power hangs over these heroic men. Odysseus is a supposed hero, an icon to all his men who are just as power hungry as he is thought to be heroic. Nevertheless at the time of Greek mythology all men had a level of lust, greed, and power hunger at their side. This ultimately leads to their downfall in suffering or death. At the beginning of Odysseus’ journey to his homeland of Ithaca, we find our so-called hero arriving with his warship on the southwestern coast of Thrace, home of the Cicones. The description of the battle is entirely from Odysseus’ massive ego: “I stormed that place and killed the men who fought…Plunder we took, and we enslaved the woman...equal shares to all…my men were mutinous, fools, on stores of wine” (152, 896), indicating that he was the brave and victorious soldier and while his crew acted more towards savages. Yet Odysseus’ command over his soldiers reflect on himself, making him no better than them. Once sailing from Thrace and then to the island of the Lotus people, the miscreant finds himself on the island of the Cyclops, Polyphemus. On this barbaric island Odysseus’ famed curiosity, which is one of his most dreadful and distinctive characteristics that is an example of his lust: “It is Odysseus’ famed curiosity that leads him to the Cyclops’s cave” (Italics, 899). This particular characteristic only leads to the destruction of the crew. Odysseus’ curiosity is not alone; his habit of flexing military supremacies is afoot. It alone is an example of his power hunger: “you were put to shame and blinded, tell him Odysseus, raiders of cities, you’re your eye: Leartes’ son, whose home’s on Ithaca!” (503, 908), and eventually contributes to his downfall as well as his crew. Odysseus makes numerous unwise decisions that may not hurt him physically or mentally, but his crew will suffer a dreadful death in the process. In his urge for power, Odysseus makes an unwise decision. By telling of who he is and where he hails from, Odysseus has given Polyphemus a sign of retribution and lets out a cry: “Let him lose all companions, and return under strange sail to bitter days as home” (537, 909). His father and foe of Odysseus, Lord Poseidon, hear this last cry. And due to this cry Lord Poseidon executes his revenge on Odysseus for his heinous crim. After most of Odysseus’ crew escapes the dreadful Cyclops, he directs his crew to the island home of the manipulate witch, Circe. Here on this island, Odysseus expresses his lust for beautiful woman: “Odysseus shares his meat and wine, and she restores his heart…after many seasons of feasting and other pleasures” (Italic, 913); this leads to a betrayal of his faithful wife, Penelope. Odysseus does not only betray Penelope, but he also delays his journey home to Ithaca by two long and forgetful years. After the two pleasant and unfaithful years with Circe, Odysseus and his crew wish to leave her island and act like cowards doing so: “Odysseus and his men beg Circe to help them get home” (Italic, 913). Circe tells Odysseus that his crew will all die with him to live, but also tells Odysseus if he ventures alone to the underworld he will seek wisdom form the blind prophet Teiresias. Here Odysseus sees his power hunger, greed and lust, with no thought of what is being said to him. He only thinks of what awaits him home. Once returning from the underworld, Odysseus is told of a path that will lead him to Ithaca, but at a great cost. A violent and destructive death will fall upon the crew that is done by Odysseus’s leadership. To distract the crew from their demise; he fills their hearts with joy of seeing their homeland. Odysseus’ lust blinds him, and because of this he tells few crew members of the gruesome fate...
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