In The Odyssey, there seem to be many common rules of life that everyone knows about and lives by including hospitality, loyalty, and justice. However, telling the truth takes a back seat to these other virtues for many of the main characters. Plenty of times, it appears that telling the truth ends up making a situation turn out horribly wrong, while lying and deceiving other characters ends up being the smarter thing to do. The theme of deception and lying in The Odyssey is especially important because it shows the prominence of the gods to the characters who are lying. This trait brings out a side of the characters that would otherwise remain hidden throughout the book. However, this hidden side of the characters the reader sees is not necessarily a fatal flaw, but more of a smart choice. Odysseus’ son, Telemachus, lies in the first few chapters of the book. He sneaks out, away from Ithica, with the intention of finding news about his father’s whereabouts. He has to deceive his mother, Penelope, in order to get away with leaving home on a voyage. Telemachus knows that he must go because Athena, Zeus’ daughter, told him. In this situation, if he were to tell his mother the truth he would not have been allowed to follow Athena’s orders and he would have displeased the gods. Telemachus chose to lie to his mother and please the gods. He told his servant “there is a god behind all this. But swear you won’t say anything to my mother for a dozen days or so…” (Page 26, line 396-398). The god’s rules about lying is unclear. They seem to think lying is okay in some situations and wrong in others. If a character is close with the gods, he or she can lie and deceive others without thinking twice, however if a character is not on the gods good side, they will receive revenge from the gods. Penelope, Odysseus’ wife, is also guilty of deceiving other characters. She tells the suitors she will marry one of them once she finishes making an extravagant...
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