Wit in the Odyssey

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The Importance of Wit in The Odyssey
Ancient Greeks use their Gods and Goddesses to explain the world around them and also to emphasize their values of honor, wit, and courage. The Odyssey is an epic poem written by Homer that portrays these qualities. In The Odyssey, a Trojan War hero, Odysseus, displays the values the Greeks honor through a twenty-year adventure to arrive home. He faces danger when battling the Cyclops, Polyphemus, and even after arriving home he had to contend with hundreds of suitors to gain back his wife and son. However, he is able to defeat his enemies using his cleverness and with help from allies. The cleverness with which Odysseus deals with the Cyclops and his wife’s suitors helps Odysseus survive so he can eventually return to his homeland.

Odysseus’ ability to think on his feet and lie to the Cyclops about the location of his ship, his knowledge not kill the Cyclops, and his capability to create a story that allows the Cyclops to believe his name was Nohbdy proves that Odysseus uses his cleverness to survive and return to his homeland. After being trapped by the Cyclops in his cave, Odysseus knows he has to escape and protect his men. Therefore, when asked by Polyphemus where his ships are, he responds by saying, “Poseidon Lord, who sets your earth a tremble, broke it up on the rocks at your land’s end,” (869, lines 228-229). Odysseus knows that he must keep the location of the ship a secret because if the Cyclops finds out that he has more men he will destroy the ship and kill them. For that reason, he tells Polyphemus that Poseidon has destroyed the ship at the other end of the Island, knowing that if the Cyclops went looking for the ship he wouldn’t find anything. Odysseus proves his cleverness once again in this adventure when he doesn’t kill the Cyclops. After the Cyclops fell asleep, Odysseus wants to stab Polyphemus but instead he thinks, “If I killed him, we perished there as well, for we could never move his...
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